Unprecedented? Lest we forget, there were the Greeks, the Romans, the Huns, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the English, the Axis, and the Russians -- to name several aspiring dominators of the globe (or those portions of it worth dominating) that come immediately to mind.
But Hobsbawm will leap into any rhetorical chasm for the sake of celebrating communism and denigrating the United States. He betrays himself at the outset of his fatuous flapdoodle when he says this:
I have a lasting admiration for Mikhail Gorbachev. It is an admiration shared by all who know that, but for his initiatives, the world might still be living under the shadow of the catastrophe of a nuclear war....Poppycock! We're not "living under the shadow of the catastrophe of a nuclear war" because Reagan stared down Gorbachev.
But what do you expect from an old Stalinist?