Pseudoisolationism: the Neoimperialism of the State(s)

James T. Slaven


During the Obama administration years, the American military seemed to be withdrawing and American global hegemony withering. The administration had adopted a new foreign policy doctrine called “offshore balancing,” and its critics were many, dubbing the doctrine “neoisolationist.” However, this label has misdiagnosed the doctrine, which as this essay will first argue, can more accurately be labeled “pseudoneoisolationist”—the American military may have withdrawn its conventional forces to a degree, but it continues to become increasingly reliant on unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). These UCAVs have allowed the United States to maintain Pax Americana while appearing to have staged a global retreat. This essay will then argue that two aspects of the American drone program have redefined territoriality: targeting methods and legal justification. This redefinition is a neoimperialist understanding, although admittedly it is one that cannot be correctly categorized as imperialist nor neoimperialist based on their traditional definitions. Finally, this essay will discuss why it is important to discuss the first two subjects (i.e. offshore balancing and the American drone program’s redefinition of territoriality) together, rather than in isolation.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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