Harvard Professor Joseph Nye argued that America’s domination of the world does not seem to be on the decline because the political will of the US continues to prevail around the globe. Now, the position of the Professor may be in diametric opposition to conventional belief but a closer analysis of world political events appears to support the notion that, US imperialism shows no signs of abating now or anytime soon.
American foreign policy continues to prevail in an international political arena where no emerging power seems to be potent enough to challenge the might of the last true superpower. Recent events around the world such as the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi or the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan as well as the unilateral declaration of war in Iraq or the US call for the replacement of hackneyed leaders such as Laurent Gbagbo of La Cote D’Ivoire showcase one country’s ability to impose its will around the world. In fact unchecked American dominance in the new world order has resulted in numerous conflicts that probably would not have been possible in a bipolar international political environment. The US led NATO bombardment of Libya for instance would not have been so straight forward if Gaddafi could call on allies in the defunct Warsaw Pact to come to his aid.
A lot has been said about a growing China but is the might of the Chinese significant enough to curtail US imperialistic domination? Not likely; a 700 billion dollar annual military budget and the continuous spread of democratic values around the world means that America’s soft power continues to grow as Washington garners more friends in former enemy territories in the Middle East and Africa. What this also means is that US control of precious resources such as oil are going to be guaranteed for the foreseeable future because unfettered American access to petroleum resources in Iraq and Libya will no longer be challenged thereby consolidating America’s economic dominance through political imperialism .
The cold war made it difficult for the United States to have its way around the world because of the Soviet menace. Lately however, it looks like whatever Washington wants Washington can get; resulting in a new form of international anarchy expressed in the inexorable rise of attacks from terrorist groups and organizations such as Al Qaeda desperately seeking to remove the US as an obstacle to their global theocratic aspirations. Furthermore, conflicts in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan reflect a global political system that is becoming increasingly unstable partly due to US unilateralism. Interestingly, the Trans Atlantic defense initiative was never activated during the cold war. Since the collapse of the iron curtain however, NATO has led military operations in the Balkans and now North Africa. In the absence of the Soviets therefore, there seems to be no real global power to check the excesses of Washington’s militarist policies hence the ensuing chaos which did not exist even at the peak of the cold war.
The grand recession may be a protracted one with unemployment remaining high in spite of the efforts of the Obama administration but that is hardly a threat to America’s hegemonic status. Lest we forget US might has been challenged before by the Japanese in the late 80’s and 90’s and the Soviets during the cold war. When the Russian spacecraft sputnik crossed earth’s atmosphere to venture into outer space and orbit the planet the general impression was that America had ceded its power to the Soviet Union. American superiority in space exploration was however restored with the Neil Armstrong lunar walk.
So the emergence of new powers and challenges to US global dominance is nothing new. The credibility in this challenge however must travel well beyond swellings or growths in one country’s economic indicators and must be felt in a meaningful way such as the ability to successfully impede the globalization of US political will. In the absence of such a challenge, international unipolarity will continue to be defined by the pre-eminence of US foreign policy.
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