By A. Johnston
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Additional info for Hegemony and culture in the origins of NATO nuclear first-use, 1945-1955
Yet the myths of empire are more common than arguments for restraint. 69 These multiple levels of culture complicate older notions of strategic culture. Those who speak of a nation having a “way of war” are hardpressed to demonstrate how historical experience acts on a nation and then on its strategic culture. Many of these histories are themselves implicated in a desire to influence policy. ” He wanted to prove that Britain’s disastrous experience with continental warfare in 1914–18 had been a tragic deviation from “tradition” so as to influence policy in the 1930s.
24 I take Sewell to mean that all social activity relies on representations of reality that embody in their architecture the worldviews of the social order. Religious practice, family rituals, business communication, and international diplomacy have behavioral codes that make practices intelligible to those who participate in them. The capacity to allocate significance to these group-making signs is an important social prize because representation exists, as Pierre Bourdieu argued, in a linguistic “market,” in which some have more capital than others.
The Left saw expansion as the companion of American capitalism that threatened their communitarian vision for America. The nationalists wanted to act from the walls of Fortress America; the agents of Empire to wrap those walls around the world into a system that celebrated cultural differences and self-determination while simultaneously weakening national barriers. This was the cultural content of American power in the aftermath of the Second World War. The empire-by-invitation thesis, rightly identifying distinctiveness in American “imperialism,” misses the significance of the new political administration.