The Coalition of Peace and Ethics has begun to examine the emergence of New Era principles of Empire in the United States and China which reflect the emerging structures through which global relations are likely to be framed in this century. See CPE EmpireSeries. Neither state is likely to seek to embrace the word Empire, even as they each construct its new structures. The empires that thrived from the end of the Renaissance were built not merely on notions (if somewhat brutal; based on direct control, but also disciplined by notions of hierarchy and exploitation based on race, ethnicity and religion.
These bases of ordering Empire have been definitely rejected by post 1945 society--but the idea of empire has not. Globalization offered law as a basis of empire, coupled with a masked power system grounded in influence and economic power diffused and exercised through private institutions (enterprises in the economic sphere and non-governmental organizations, including religious organizations in the social sphere). This system has been collapsing by the weight of its own contradictions and the detritus of the racial, ethnic and religious conflicts it sought to overcome. But on the soil of this (now in hindsight) transitional empire, new forms are arising. These are meant to strip the concept of imperium of the chains of its history, and the burdens of the structures of their past failures and re-structure systems for management and control of people, spaces, and narratives on a new basis. That basis speaks to circles of dependency and management, of a collective, all revolving around the imperial core. It speaks of post-globalized systems of tribute, allegiance, and obligation; of service built around a core and its collectives--temporibus imperio tributa obsequium et debitum.
The essay first appeared on the website of the Instituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale 27 September 2019.