close
close

Voice News

CA News 2024

searchengine

21st century imperialism, from Russia to China and cyberspace

We often think of the age of empire as in the past: the Roman Empire, the Qing dynasty, British imperialism. But as the essays below argue, empires are alive and well in the 21st century. Some are taking new forms, like the corporate titans of the Internet age. Others are directly inspired by imperial history and a revanchist spirit.

We often think of the age of empire as in the past: the Roman Empire, the Qing dynasty, British imperialism. But as the essays below argue, empires are alive and well in the 21st century. Some are taking new forms, like the corporate titans of the Internet age. Others are directly inspired by imperial history and a revanchist spirit.

This edition of Flash Points examines the myth-making, ambitions and follies of today’s empires, and how they are (and aren’t) changing the world order.



An illustration shows the Colosseum of the Roman Empire juxtaposed with a digital atmosphere and iconography for a story about digital superpowers.
An illustration shows the Colosseum of the Roman Empire juxtaposed with a digital atmosphere and iconography for a story about digital superpowers.

Foreign policy illustration

The new rich of the internet age

Cyberspace has turned the old world order upside down, writes Daniel W. Drezner.



Chinese President Xi Jinping waits in front of a painting of the Great Wall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping waits in front of a painting of the Great Wall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waits in front of a painting of the Great Wall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 3, 2018.Andy Wong/Getty Images

Xi’s imperial ambitions are rooted in China’s history

Myths about peacefulness belie a record as expansionist as any other power, writes Michael Sobolik.



A depiction of the fall of Constantinople shows drawn horses and soldiers with spears and bows and arrows in a chaotic, impressionistic scene with castle walls, turrets and smoke in the background.
A depiction of the fall of Constantinople shows drawn horses and soldiers with spears and bows and arrows in a chaotic, impressionistic scene with castle walls, turrets and smoke in the background.

A depiction of the Fall of Constantinople, the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army in 1453. The Print Collector via Getty Images

The inevitable fall of Putin’s new Russian empire

What history tells us about collapsed empires trying to restore their former possessions, according to Alexander J. Motyl.



A rainbow behind the ruins of the ancient Roman Forum
A rainbow behind the ruins of the ancient Roman Forum

The ruins of the ancient Roman Forum in Rome on November 3, 2017.Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images

Getting Rome right and America wrong

A new history of empire is far too British, writes Bret Devereaux.




Joan Wong illustration for foreign policy

The rise and fall and rise (and fall) of the American financial empire

It is far from self-evident to critics that the hegemony of the dollar is an unadulterated blessing, writes Adam Tooze of FP.