Detritus of empire; detail from a mural in Mexico City.
It would be hard to imagine a more striking vignette of waning U.S. imperial power under the Bush regime than this encounter described in today's New York Times. In the 1980s, John Negroponte was the U.S. proconsul in dirty wars against the uppity peoples of Central America, overseeing repression, torture and murder in El Salvador and Nicaragua from a base as ambassador to Honduras. Hondurans suffered directly from their military's devotion to preserving U.S. power. Today Negroponte is Deputy Secretary of State, on tour for the U.S. in Pakistan. And with its newly elected government, Pakistanis are getting restless, more interested in restoring their own freedoms by curbing the empire-compliant General Musharraf, than in pursing Washington's war on their borders against the Taliban. So this:
In this country we may have to luxury of forgetting past imperial crimes, but the rest of the world watches and remembers.