Imperial Designs


Imperial Designs

War, Humiliation & the Making of History

Deepak Tripathi
Foreword by Johan Galtung

208 pages


April 2013


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eBook (PDF)
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April 2013


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About the Book

Since the age of Alexander the Great, waves of foreign armies have invaded the Middle East and South Asia to plunder their vast treasures. In Imperial Designs, Deepak Tripathi offers a powerful and unique analysis of how this volatile region has endured the manipulation and humiliation of such wars. He argues that these foreign invasions to gain access to others’ wealth and the consequent ignominy of the defeated peoples of the regions have had far-reaching consequences. Over the centuries, again and again, the conquered peoples have been left helpless, their shame on display. The victims’ collective frustration has strengthened their will to resist and avenge the wrongs done to them—all according to their own values and in their own time. Displaying a keen awareness of Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures, Tripathi argues that this enduring theme resonates throughout the region’s history and informs the present. Referring to declassified official documents and scholarly works, Imperial Designs offers an authoritative analysis of Middle Eastern history since World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Scholars, policymakers, and concerned citizens should read this book, for it tells us how the shame of defeat radicalizes nations and societies, and often makes future conflict inevitable.

Author Bio

DEEPAK TRIPATHI is a British historian and former journalist whose career (1974–2000) was spent primarily with the BBC, where he was a correspondent, editor, and commentator. In the early 1990s, Tripathi set up the BBC bureau in Kabul and was the resident correspondent in Afghanistan. He has also reported from Syria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India. He is the author of Overcoming the Bush Legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan and Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism. Tripathi received his PhD from the University of Roehampton, where he is an honorary research fellow. He lives near London.


“More than a trenchant analysis of recent U.S. foreign policy disasters, this important book helps us understand the potent role of humiliation in international affairs.”—Mark Juergensmeyer, director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, professor of sociology, and affiliate professor of religious studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Much we still need to learn about the social and psychological consequences of the globalized imperialism of the sort that the U.S. and its allies perform at unfathomable cost to human dignity and civilized life. Deepak Tripathi’s Imperial Designs is an excellent study in that critical direction. His knowledge of the terrain is vast and detailed, his perspective realist, and his gaze irreducibly humanist.”—Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, and author of Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror

“This elegant and original tour de force reveals the often forgotten emotive and violent effect Western imperialism and colonialism had on the peoples of Western Asia. A must read for our times.”—Ilan Pappe, professor of history, University of Exeter, and author of A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples

“A seminal book that shows how perilous it is to overlook the dynamics of humiliation in politics, particularly in times of increasing global interdependence when crises can only be overcome through cooperation. It is the very strategy that is undermined by the humiliation of arrogant domination.”—Evelin Lindner, professor of social sciences and humanities, and author of Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict

"Imperial Designs has much to offer to decision-makers, particularly its insights into the causes and devastating impact of humiliation in international relations, including the desire for revenge on the part of the humiliated. . . . Tripathi’s excellent summation of past events in the Middle East and his cogent analysis of their continuing implications should be required reading for all who are dealing directly with this troubled region, as well as those seeking to understand it and its relations with the United States."—Greta N. Morris, American Diplomacy

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