Letter: We live in an American world

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NEAL ASCHERSON sees the Cold War as a period in which the United States ruled the world unchallenged, and its current uni- power status as one of impotence ('The republican virtue of leaving yesterday behind', 24 January).

But in his exploration of the complexities of the international balance of power is he not in danger of ignoring the obvious: that we are now, and for the foreseeable future, living under Pax Americana? For example, US policy on Somalia, either for or against continued intervention, will determine the future of that country; US-based corporations will determine the lifestyles of whole continents; and, if that great country decides that a domestic oil conservation policy is politically unacceptable, it can, unchallenged, administer a 'spanking' to Iraq to ensure that there is no threat to its oil supply.

Beverley Nevin

London N19