Saying Goodbye to American Hegemony – What’s next?

The U.S. is restraining from accepting and carrying out the position of global leader. Thus far, this new administration is continuing a line begun by the previous Obama administration, albeit for quite different ideological reasons. The common denominator, though, is the adverse reaction of a significant part of the American population toward continued leadership, including the acceptance of the necessary costs . The dominant narrative is one of failed attempts at nation building (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya); of the detrimental effects of transborder trade, especially for domestic manufacturing jobs; and of the adverse effects of taking climate change seriously.

It is not likely that these perceptions will change any time soon. This leaves the world with a question: Where to go from here?

It would be easy to assume that China will take over in one way or another. But this is not likely from an economic point of view, and it has imposing domestic tasks to be addressed. Additionally, from a Western perspective, China would not be a liberal leader .

The EU doesn’t look like it is ready and available for a leadership role. Germany alone is not strong enough. So the world seems poised to move toward a multi- or even nonpolar structure.

What can we expect from this?

– Klaus Segbers

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Saying Goodbye to American Hegemony - What’s next?
Article Name
Saying Goodbye to American Hegemony - What’s next?
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The role of the US in the international system is under construction. With the US resigning as leader of the so-called free world, new spaces open up for other actors to redefine their roles.
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  1. Justas Paleckis 4 months ago

    Washington can still return to the attempts to construct a uni-polar world. This option could be supported by the electorate if the US economic situation will improve significantly. But it seems that the really short period of a uni-polar world is over. It’s hard to imagine that China could impose a Confucian teaching or single-party system by force outside their home country. The United Nations should reflect the changing face of the world. It has long been not as it was in 1945. Reforms are necessary. Who else, if not the EU (and especially Germany) should have to push most actively such fundamental reforms?

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  2. Hildegard Müller 4 months ago

    Yes, the announced withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement may seem as just a
    further step towards a new era of American restraint, abandoning global
    responsibilities. However, in this case, not only other nations take over new
    responsibilities but also the federal structure of the U.S. alongside emerging
    market dynamics may prove some developments to be irreversible. Several federal
    states declared that they would still implement policies that would help to reach
    the goals from the Paris Agreement. California e.g. has CO2 reduction targets and
    incentives (like an emission trading system) similar to the European Union. But also
    the U.S. industry has recognised the perks of the energy transition towards more
    renewables, smart digital technologies and increased energy efficiency. Having made
    investments promoting decarbonisation, even industrial giants like General Electric
    and Dow Chemicals will pursue a more climate friendly way of doing business. With
    both industry and federal states continuing on their path, the U.S will still play
    their part in the global challenge of climate change.

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  3. Dmytro Sherengovsky 4 months ago

    For centuries the development of state power was accompanied with economic growth, bringing prosperity and security to its citizens. Today these functions of nation states are blurred and global markets can bring more personalized incomes, while private military companies can ensure personalized security. In 2015, the total income of Apple Inc was near 234 bln USD, several times bigger than budget incomes of a number of countries, including Ukraine (21 bln USD). However, the possibility of privatizing global politics are still limited even in the Linklaterian Post-Westphalian era, mainly due to the lack of effective instruments to generate collective responses to global threats outside of state-based institutions.

    What we are facing now doesn’t mean that state powers are in decline, but it does mean that we see a lack of global leadership and lack of trust to the ‘global leaders of the past’, causing the effects of G-zero thinking.

    Here we can come to the conclusion that Richard Haass made several years ago: Today’s world is not dominated by one or a few leaders in terms of polarity, but by a number of state powers and non-state actors oriented on issues. If state powers are seeking a new ‘grand order’, they should perform a ‘grand leadership strategy’ that includes multiple players, contributing to combat common global threats on different levels. The shift from polarity to issues is desperately needed.

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  4. Anastasia Wischnewskaja 4 months ago

    The movement towards a non-polar world is not taking place because somebody “wants” it or “manipulates” this process. It is a natural consequence of globalization, unprecedented economic growth in the global South and therefore – global interdependence. There is a huge variety of interests and issues of regional importance out there and it is neither possible nor necessary for one actor to steer and control these processes. The growing role of regional organizations like ASEAN or united handling of transnational challenges like climate change was hard to imagine 30, 20 or even 10 years ago and yet they have good chances to change to international landscape. Paris agreement remains an unprecedented symbol of international communities’ ability to cooperate, even despite US-withdrawal. While the US-dominated Western alliance failed to bring stability and security to Afghanistan, the SCO and TAPI might get this job done. As of now, it seems, that the world of the 21st century will be a net of bi- and multilateral agreements, organizations, trade routes and partnerships making cooperation the only way to go. Otto von Bismarck tried to establish such a net of agreements in the 19th century Europe, but German government failed to sustain it after his death. This time failing is not an option.

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6 Comments

  1. Sandra Miller 4 months ago

    After almost 5 months of Trumps perisendcy we are witnessing Mr. Trumps pessimistic attitude to trade and his unwillingness to collaborate on global issues like climate change. Thus, we can confirm that America abdicates his role of a global leader. So if the days of depending on others are to some extent over, the Europeans have to take their fate into their own hands, as Angela Merkel told after she welcomed the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Berlin. In times of global uncertainty, we have to push for a world order based on common values and interests. Trump’s America is no longer the reliable leader its partners once expected, but an evil force in world affairs. Hence, it must bear the consequences.

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  2. Zoltan Eperjesi 4 months ago

    Declining “hegemony” of the US? A lot of considerations (often within a simplistic narrative) are currently surrounding the topic of declining hegemony of the US. With challenging events ahead, one has read various conspiratorial and emotional accounts about the issue encountering bitter undertones. Hegemony is ‘a power that can measure strength against all its rivals combined’. This definition of hegemony fits into an international structure of power essentially observed and expressed in realist notions. Thus, the structure should be perceived in waltzian terms as a chaotic self-help system defined by the distribution of capabilities across units and by the arrangement of its parts. So, it is the unipolar structure of world power in which the most powerful agent-unit, thus the state, faces no gauntlet in its relative authority (hard power as defined by Keohane) configurations and consequently, exercises a hegemonic role. Hegemonic powers must have control over: raw materials, sources of capital, markets, and have competitive advantages in the production of world-valued goods. The control over material resources is what allows to sustain the superiority on military capabilities (as the second component) that makes out the relative power of the hegemon within the international system and that coins the unipolar character of the latter. Let´s have a short review by considering what some of the most important scholars have written on the topic in the past decades. The scholarly debate in U.S foreign policy and international relations theory about the forthcoming deterioration of American hegemony has been an ever-returning one since the late 1970’s, and such evaluations are coming from even earlier. Maybe the most persuasive piece of academic work about the topic issued between the post-World War II’s Pax Americana and the end of the cold war has been thoughts of P. Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers” (1988); even if the quintessence of the matching views could be traced before that, and even more powerfully explained, in the works of the well-known American researcher Robert Gilpin. Kennedy’s work is embedded into a deep historical meta-analysis. Author outlined quite comprehensively the configurations and developments of the weakening of the imperial system in presenting former great powers and claimed that the same outcome, thus “decline” could possibly happen in the case of the current leading world power: the USA. In Kennedy’s understanding, the U.S could be completely exhausted by its intensive military operations and too much foreign interference that was installed above its real economic potential by having ever more difficulties to maintain this path. Thus, by continuing to play the central role as the world’s policeman could lead to the corrosion of its influence and subsequent decline as superpower. Kennedy’s declinist outlooks reached the bigger public as his thesis was of big interest, both from opponents and followers. Subsequently, while the Berlin wall was coming down and the American economy was substantially growing again, it is observable that the hegemonic declinist views experienced much less popularity as before. With the disintegration and reorganization of the SU, not only the Warsaw Treaty and the Cold War have ended, but also the period of global political bipolarity, as they had developed since the end of WWII. For the US, as back then, the by far the most powerful of all states, it seemed a tangible objective to shape other spheres of influences in the world. Besides, the collapse of socialist dictatorial regimes made possible for the US and its closest allies to try to reverse the complex results of the anti-colonial liberation as far as possible. In 1992, F. Fukuyama considered her capitalism as the summit of possible human development and proclaimed the “end of history”. This “end of the history” was interpreted by other ideologues of the victorious capitalist imperialism also as an opportunity, by now to be also able to reverse the achievements of the bourgeois revolutions. Thus, Josef Joffe, (2001) a right-wing conservative ideologist and co-editor of an influential German weekly paper claimed that the end of the GDR and the Soviet Union marked “the end of the totalitarian era at all, which had begun exactly 200 years earlier with the French Revolution.” Z. Brzezinski develops the strategic concept of a “hegemony of a new type” for the realization of the world domination in his book “The Single World Power”, published in 1997. Author assumes in his concept that the power and influence of the US extends to the whole world, “whereby a dominance on the entire Eurasian continent is still the prerequisite for global forefront.” However, according to Brzezinski, this dominance is a historically unique one, as the US not only dominates all oceans and seas…, but divisions of the American Army are positioned in the western and eastern border regions of the Eurasian continent, and they are also controlling the Persian Gulf. In addition, the entire continent is full with American “vassals and tributary states”, some of whom would be more tied to Washington. Simultaneously, Brzezinski is as far a strategic realist, because he highlights that America as a leading world power ”has only a brief historical opportunity.” Thus, is based on the prospect that the US will maintain its dominant position for at least one generation and if at all possible even much longer. In order to can hold it’s so far largely realized and claimed new type of hegemony, Brzezinski explicitly calls on the US politicians to comply with three great imperatives of imperialist geostrategy, thus to prevent agreements between the vassals, and to preserve their dependence on matters of security; to keep the tributary states docile and to protect them; and to ensure that the ‘barbarian’ peoples do not join their forces together. The “three imperatives of imperial geostrategy”, as evoked by Brzezinski, are disclosing very much about the nature and characteristics of US hegemony. This involves the concept of collective imperialism. This hegemony is realized above all by various alliances, in which competing interests also have an important effect. However, what is crucial in this respect, is the joint of the imperialist front of the US, the EU, Japan and Israel against those countries that do not wish to be colonized again. They are reaching agreement in order to maintain a global economic order by all means, that further secures their allied countries with 20% of the world’s population with the consumption of 80% of the earth’s resources. Thus, only 20% of resources remains for the “rest” of mankind. With this objective, the EU is also increasingly willing to subordinate the US hegemony. According to Ulrich Duchrow, (2007) the EU develops into a sub-empire within the US Empire. The NATO, which has meanwhile expanded considerably to the east, has become a world-wide military reserve of willful vassals by now, which were selectively used from case to case by the US, as a hegemonic power. As one can remark, after more than two decades of prevailing American hegemonic positivity, the shifting external and internal backgrounds have also made possible the framework for a renewal of the discussion on the course of the hegemonic role of America within the international system. The conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq and the 2007-2008 global financial/economic crisis, together with the emergence of new great powers on the international scene have also made ever more visible the potential gaps of the unipolar power system among the main “players” that did not seem to be so noteworthy before. S. Amin (1998) has seen the global effects of today’s imperialism justified by five monopolies: the monopoly of new technologies; control of global financial flows; controlling access to the natural resources of the earth; control of the means of communication and media; and monopoly of weapons of mass destruction. The realization of these monopolies is carried out together by the powers implied in this, but this practice not always happens in a complementary or harmonizing way as sometimes is also a conflict-prone action. Based on these monopolies and determined to keep them, US President Bush proclaimed the “New World Order” in November 1991. In essence, this concerns to put in question the “old world order” for the West that is based on international law being also codified in the UN Charter. This bargain also involves the enforcement of a new imperialism and colonialism, supported by their allies and by the rest of the world. According to Samir Amin (2003), the US lets himself guided above all of them in in pursuit of this objective to push the UN as a guide to the world order through NATO and return to the traditional principle of politics before the founding of the UN in 1945; or in other words, to settle political problems by means of war. But this happens by no means accidentally, because the hegemonical behavior of the US is much more based on its over-sized military power than on the” advantages “of its economic system. In Gideon Rachmans` view, the prospect of the weakening of America, which for many proved to be out of place in past years, this time “is for real”. Particularly now as the intensely debated rise of China does not seem to be a so distant scenario. Past unreal fears related to the Soviet and Japanese dangers may make the US to see the Chinese challenge as just another situation to rise the false alarm. Rachman warns that this time, the alarm eventually could be proved right. Even if the fear concerning Chinas’ new role can easily become a topic for populists, the applicability of the subject is based on its explanatory feature to exemplify some very real occurrences of recent times. To…

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  3. Zoltan Eperjesi 4 months ago

    Since its victory in the Cold War, the US and its allies have so far staged four aggressive acts of aggression against the “New World Order” they are striving for: 1991 against Iraq, 1999 against Yugoslavia, 2001 against Afghanistan and 2003 again against Iraq. Permanent threaten politicians and military of the United States with such new wars e.g. against Iran, North Korea etc. According to the American political scientist Chalmers Johnson, (2003) who had once served as a consultant to the CIA, the wars of the USA from 1991 to 2003 were “de facto imperialist wars, led under the pretext of humanitarian intervention, the liberation of women from subjugation, the alleged threat of mass-destruction weapons, or whatever buzzword might seem just appropriate and opportune to the speakers of the White House and the Pentagon.” For him, therefore, the US is “not what they claim to be, they are in fact a military juggernaut that wants to subjugate the world.” As a key element of their hegemony, the US maintains over 700 military bases in other countries. C. Johnson also calls the US-empire “an empire of military bases”. In fact, these are imperialist wars with the aim of reversing the results of the anticolonial liberation struggle in the twentieth century and of installing a new colonialism corresponding to capitalist globalization. The historian Eric J. Hobsbawm (2001/ interview) sees in the fact that imperialism and colonialism are often practiced again, the possibly “decisive novelty in the post-Soviet era”. The “protectorates of a new colonialism” in the Balkans, and in Afghanistan are remembering him to the time after 1918, as “new colonies were disguised as League of Nations mandates.” Moreover, there is no doubt that the issue is about the disposal of crucial resources, in particular oil and natural gas. Therefore, it was no coincidence that with the invasion of Iraq, the US pursued and follows the declared goal of remodeling the entire Near- and Middle East in a neo-colonial manner. Immediately before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the Pentagon adviser James Woolsey, who was director of the CIA from 1993 to 1994, stated in an interview: “we must take the oil weapon away from the entire Near East.” This requires “a long-term strategy” and “we are now starting with Iraq …” Directly related to the invasion of Iraq there has also been a historically unprecedented, often almost euphoric worship of US hegemony in the German conservative media. The invasion was only the last act of a hidden war, lasting more than eleven years, of the US and Great Britain against Iraq. A few days before the invasion of the US forces into Iraq, one could read in a conservative German Sunday newspaper (Frankfurter Allgemeine) the following: Mankind must “search for the hegemon, the one, which is preferably good. … Iraq is only the first step on this long, responsible and perhaps bloody path. This hegemon can, if at all, be a single power: the United States. The Empire Americanum is our chance. We do not have another one.” (Source: A. Schuller:Wir brauchen das Imperium Americanum. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Frankfurt/ M., 9. 3. 2003, p, 11). Bavaria’s Minister President E. Stoiber stated in July 2003 at the summer conference of the Political Club of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing that there is a need to extend the right to self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter through the right to lead preventive warfare in accordance with the new US strategy. (Source: Neues Deutschland, Berlin, 7.7. 2003, p. 6.) If the Iraq war of US hegemony initially triggered such approval of influential imperialist circles, has that in the meantime apparent inability of the USA to win this war, an ultimately opposite effect. Egon Bahr then also sees the “peak of the American unipolarity or even arrogance … in the years 2001 to 2005.” (See: Neues Deutschland, Berlin, 19. 3. 2007, p.3) The analysis of U.S hegemony departs from the fall of the SU and with it, the end of the bipolar structure of world politics that was prevalent during the cold war. Indeed, during the 1990’s decade America experienced a matchless moment of economic, military and political supremacy in the global affairs. The quick spread of more or less liberal-democratic political institutions and open market economies throughout the world, principally in former Warsaw pact countries, facilitated reinforcing the position of the USA as a hegemonic power; even more, after its potential economic competitors, for example Japan, were struggling with economic difficulties and growth stagnation. But as in the middle of the second decade of the XXI century, the rise of new great powers in Asia is positioning itself as a possible source of new poles on the international scene while the hegemon still recovers after two expensive wars and the financial crisis, both with substantial losses for the economy, also a new question arises. Can the US sustain its superpower status, and if the answer is yes, then for how long? America was coming from a decade of economic successes and fiscal health during the 1990’s. According to Altman and Hass’ explanation, national debt (defined as federal debt held by the public) was in line with the long-term historical average, thus around 35 % of GDP. The government’s budget was in surplus and the total amount of debt was decreasing. Federal Reserve executives even openly discussed the chance that all of the liabilities might be paid off. The hegemonic position of the US has reached its peak, but that has by some means changed in the meantime, not perhaps in direct shifts of global power, yet in trends. In the first place are the events of 9/11 as this activated a reaction in the government that ended up in two expensive military interventions. The Iraq war alone was costing around $3 trillion causing huge damages both, especially to its fiscal health, but also the country’s image (soft power). The fiscal stability, was the one problem as the costs of the two wars combined were representing 10-15% of the country’s annual deficit and according to A. Quinn’s statement (2011) “the central ingredient feeding the prospect of decline is dire fiscal outlook”. After a considerable governmental bailout to the financial system that only just avoided a full stagnation of the economy, the prospect of recovery and growth has been coming very slowly. However, federal debt and deficit have experienced rather a dissimilar result. According to assessments of the Congressional Budget Office, cumulative deficits through 2020 will be around $9.5 trillion. Federal debt, that in 2010 was 62% of GDP, is likely to be 90% of it in 2020, 110% in 2025 and 180% in 2035. These estimates suggest that US ability to keep funding and raise its military expenses may considerably deteriorate in the future, whether it will be due to coercively applied austerity package in terms of fiscal discipline in the event of an indebtedness led crisis or due to public pressure to shrink government expenditure, or both factors together. As a result, the second element of its hegemony may experience some constraints due to the weakening of the first. It is fiscal, economic, and political fiascos at home that are destroying the capability of the US to exercise the global influence that it could. Stephen Walt (2011) observes that “the biggest challenge the United States faces today is not a looming great-power rival; it is the triple whammy of accumulated debt, eroding infrastructure and a sluggish economy. The only way to have the world’s most capable military forces both now and into the future is to have the world’s most advanced economy”. The picture described by author could be complete, except there is also a forthcoming great-power competitor on the stage and so the two processes through which US hegemony could be eroding are meeting in one point (internal and external conditions). In that case, both the corrosion of its own strength and the rise of another power, seem to be converging to trigger a firm trend of power-balancing capabilities in the near future. Great powers such as China or even Germany are on the rise, but by far the most important one is the widely discussed role of China. It is well-known that China’s rising economy will overtake the US’ probably in the next four decades; – in any case in its full size by nominal GDP even earlier. Diverse estimates situate this happening around 2021, 2028, or sometime around the 2030’s. This is supported by Chinese surprising growth rates: during the past decade its real GDP has been growing at an average pace of 10.5% annually, while the US experienced only 1.7% in average growth rate. This difference is expected to undergo certain narrowing within the next decade, but the gap will still be sufficiently great to justify the prognoses. According to data issued by The Economist, average real GDP growth for US’ will oscillate around 2.5% and that of China will remain between 7 to 7.75%. Primacists see no factual dangers to American Hegemony in those figures by maintaining that the US still profits by “the continued structural advantages” that make out economic and so military supremacy as well. Such factors are the Dollar as the standard currency of the world, strong influence inside the international structures, corporate strength, and other experts are talking about soft power’s legitimacy of the US or even the notion of the “benevolent hegemon” as a buffer to stop the fall of hegemonic influence. To be continued…

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  4. Zoltan Eperjesi 4 months ago

    Other experts are pointing out that economic supremacy must be analyzed more in qualitative than in quantitative terms by measuring its real competitiveness rather the size of its economy, in view of the vast gain that the US continues to hold comparative to China concerning its technological development, patents, international best ranked universities, and China’s problems concerning inventions due to its strict educational system and structural gaps. It is also emphasized that the US living standards and GDP per capita are a more appreciated features than nominal records because it is there where additional value lies. The above presented review shows certain solid arguments against the declinist scenario and yet several of them can be successfully contested. Foremost, concerning the impact of America within the international system and the primacy of the currency $, certain supremacy frictions will be experienced in the near future. Supported by the ever growing considerable size of its export oriented economy and its trade balance overplusses with continuously expanding strategic partners (new silk road project), China has gained a central role in international configurations such as the ASEAN community, the G20 and other scenes. In the medium run, China possibly will put some pressure against the dollar’s position as the international reserve currency. It is crucial to bear in mind that nearly 50% of US Treasury debt is today held abroad. 22% of it is by China alone and in this way the Chinese financial ace could prove more dangerous than Chinese military treat. Just an announcement that China was cutting back its dollar holdings could put huge pressure on interest rates and/or the American currency ($). Even if this option does not seem beneficial for China to implement at the present day, since its economy is primarily based on exports and for that reason it is also interdependent with the US economy itself; but this financial instrument still represents a dangerous Chinese possibility against the US. Thus, various Chinese offensive matters applied against the USA during a possible great-power conflict in the future could have major consequences for all involved parts. Nevertheless, in this case, financial tools could prove to be even more powerful than military deterrence implemented for power-balancing purposes, especially for the reason that today there is an unlikeliness by great-power confrontations to clash against each other in a nuclear age. By concerning the corporate strength issue, while is known that the US holds a considerable general advantage, a relevant detail to think of is that certain classifications admit that among the best ten international concerns there are four Chinese and the same amount of Americans. By addressing neocolonial theory, it is essential to remember that opponents argue that the model is simply an endeavor to continue to attack colonialism itself for Africa’s prevailing complications rather than address the key issues obstructing sovereign African governments, such as corruption, disorganization, favoritism and protectionism. Opponents of this theory sustain that the above numerated problems, more than any efficient practice of outside exploitation, have been responsible for the slow performance of African economies since gaining their own independence. Others critics continue to claim that neocolonialism still persists in our days, if in somewhat different shape. Multinational concerns, such as oil and mining corporations, and transnational organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization are responsible for much of the neocolonial impact in African states in the early twenty-first century. The undertakings of these businesses and organizations go beyond the frontiers and influences of the old-style nation-state, making it problematic to discuss about interregional dealings except in terms of such patterns as united North-, thus Europe, Canada, and the United States and weak and hopeless South, thus Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As the understanding of global and transnational relations becomes increasingly sophisticated, the idea of neocolonialism will continue to be addressed. That’s why the concept of neocolonialism has entered the vocabulary of the majority of students of Third World affairs and is an essential subject matter in terms of the history of ideas. Although American interventionism has so obviously crossed the boundaries of its power, (especially through the war in Iraq) and now it is justified to speak of a crisis of its hegemony, it would be premature to speak today of the end of this hegemony. The US still has a unique power potential worldwide. The sunset of American hegemony cannot be directly tied to the blatant political slip-ups of President Donald Trump and this administration will not be the end of America as a global power. If there is anywhere in the world that in fact has a deep stake in the normative image of the American century, it is the European continent with his various actors. For some, the ending of the century of American exceptionalism, will be no great surprise. Ultimately, the US emerged as a strong promoter of democracy in Japan, but in Taiwan and South Korea it was a more complicated undertaking, not to mention in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Afterwards, there was the quandary of Vietnam and the hidden and intractable extension of that conflict to Cambodia and Laos. The list can be continued with topics as the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Saudi, and Israel. The US has not destroyed itself, but what it has been destroyed is its claim to international political authority. That kind of power was on the way of decline anyway. Under George W. Bush the successes achieved during and after the end of the Cold War, thickened into severely disputed image problems. Appreciating the destructions that President Bush had created, President Obama compensated by a popular rhetoric and for domestic consumption he too presented a great meaning of America’s remarkable role, a claim intensified by his very person. In voting and nominating for a black man as President, not only the US but Europe as well, saw the evils of colonialism and suppression compensated. And what happens today? The Americans have elected a nonsensical President, only to make America great again. If President Trump raises Pentagon spending, American military dominance may even increase. However, the Wall Street remains the center of global finance. The Fed is vital to international economic policy and additionally American lawyers, management counsellors, PR companies, higher education and lobbyists make up a global network of soft power. The high-tech competence of Silicon Valley is unparalleled and is ever more effortlessly united with the network of worldwide social media and data exchange. American hegemony, described as the relative power it occupies in the international configuration, has been disintegrating and a tendency of weakening has been set. Nevertheless, that tendency means a slow development that may not cause radical power modifications in the short or even medium term. First of all, there is no certainty that this development is not reversible in a long term due to the advantages that America still has. But the process of decline will generate transformational significances in the current unipolar configuration of the international structure, however, to predict the future is always to enter the delicate territory of speculations even when that is presented a well-informed assumption. Despite the fact that bipolarity or multi-polarity as proposed by Walt (2011) or even Haass’ (2008) non-polarity are thoughtful options, I think that there will be a couple of decades or a half of the century in order to fully comprehend that process and even then, it is quite sure that America will positioning itself as the strongest pole in a multipolar system, in which China would be the second followed by the other rising great powers. In the interim, the international structure will continue to have a careful and strained hegemonic rule, which will be ever more coerced to multilateralist maneuvers by the influence of rising powers from the outside, combined to political freeze-ups and economic stagnation domestically. However painful it may be to deal with Trump’s administration, it is fact that the American state guides NATO and the alliance system in East Asia, but nobody speaks seriously about an ‘American century’ anymore. When will be finally implemented in its place a new and different world order is currently still as open as the decision about whether this will be multipolar or re-structured bipolar. Ultimately, this will depend on the character of the then decisive economic globalization and the new epoch of the development of humanity.

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  5. WANG Wucong 2 months ago

    It is assumed that our world will return to “19 century” when the international system was multilateral and power-ruled. Although I think that it is still too early to draw a conclusion concerning concrete form of future global system, uni-polar world is sure to be the past. The reason is not only relative decline of US but also the rising of other countries such as China and India, in spite that some American politicians who are established still want to US’s status.
    Maybe people who disgust a uni-polar world will be happy to see it and praise a so called “multipolar world”, but it is more likely that the uni-polar world will be replaced by a nonpolar world rather than a multipolar world. What they ignored is that the transition of international system usually means chaos and conflicts which will be harmful to most of us. Other powers may regard the retreat of US as their opportunities to achieve their strategic goals which will bring this world more instabilities. For instance, Japan is committed to become a “normal country” so that it can get rid of the restriction from US and develop their own army freely.
    From my perspective, China, India, Russia and EU will play a more significant role in an age succeeds but no one is able to exert their influences around the world as what US did two decades after the end of cold war. And they also need time to adapt themselves to the new world landscape and coordinate their interests with each other, thus we will witness increasing conflicts even wars. However, I also believe that there will be a fairer and more reasonable order after temporary chaos because of the rise of developing countries.

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  6. MA Hongpeng 2 months ago

    I do think that the US is restraining from a definitely leader of the whole world. Especially from the presidency of Mr. Trump, the US became more and more domestically-oriented in face of amounts of global responsibilities. The Paris Agreement withdraw is basically a signal for any kind of actors in the globe that the world is not under the lead of the US any more.
    Maybe some people think that the world is going to enter a era of China. But I do not think so. There are several reasons. The first one is ideology. Many countries have a strong economical relationship with China, yet they still do not regard China a liberal state. So they still feel insecurity under the relations with China. For example, Singapore is more likely to trust the US than China, albeit its Confucian culture. And the second reason is that China’s influence on Europe is very limited due to the very different historical, political and cultural backgrounds. And the third reason is that the state power is not that significant than before. More and more transnational organizations and non-government actors are playing a more and more important role in the world order. Even market gains a pivotal function. For EU, ASEAN etc. Regional organizations also can dominate the coming new era.
    So most possibly the future world will move toward a multipolar structure, in which several kind of actors cooperate together. China probably will dominate the region east Asia. And EU with Germany will still lead Europe to a more independent position. Other regions like Africa, South America, Middle East, are not very sure. Maybe there will be a regional dominate country emerging like Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia. And also it’s possible issues occurred in these regions would be intervened or even controlled by other great powers.

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