The Pros and Cons of Being An Empire

Scotsman Niall Ferguson is the historian liberals love to hate. He is – the British press points out – precociously right-wing, a little too rich, and annoyingly handsome.

He also has a penchant for empires, for looking back and seeing the good in the British Empire. For looking out today and wishing an American empire were doing better. Iraq? Stay forty years, he says.

Problem is, says Niall Ferguson, Americans are ambivalent about projecting power — and they are drowning in debt. Debt so huge it could swamp even a superpower. And sooner than you might think.

Hear a conversation with imperial historian Niall Ferguson on the American way of debt and empire.


Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and a Professor at Harvard Business School

Jack Beatty, On Point News Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic Monthly.

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