Why do we care about US hegemony? Should the US maintain hegemony? Can it? What is meant by the rise of the rest? Does the rise of the rest threaten US foreign policy?
The US remains the sole superpower in the post Cold War world. Stance on failed states, democracy, the peace process, climate change, etc. has international ramifications Debates over US decline and its ramifications for international politics focuses on several questions: What role does US hegemony play in international politics? How should the US maintain hegemony? Should the US seek to maintain hegemony?
Joffe 2009 Fears about US decline are nothing new Pundits and scholars habitually raise concerns about the decline of US hegemony 1950s-1970s: Soviet Union 1980s: Japan Today: EU/China Even in the midst of a major current crisis, forecasting decline ignores the unmatched nature of US influence/strength on all real indicators of power (cultural, economic, military, diplomatic) Patterns of glee and gloom obscure this reality US military and higher educational system places it in a league of its own China typically cited as the most likely threat to hegemony But China does not threaten US supremacy
Ferguson 2004 US hegemony is a fancy term for empire. Although the US hates the term the US is an informal empire World benefits from a liberal empire Protect rule of law, reduce corruption, maintain economic markets, etc.). The US is the only state which can play this role Accepting the mantle of empire has both materialist and altruistic components. Materialist: deposing despots and containing epidemics makes the US safer. Altruism: humanitarian intervention is sometimes necessary and the US is often the only state with the resources to act
Bacevich 2008 US interventionism often justified on the basis of a supposedly existential threat from fundamentalist Islam. Open-ended war on terror motivated by an attempt to consolidate power within the executive branch and the military-industrial complex. US falsely believes that its strength makes it indispensable and that hegemony gives it the right to impose beliefs and values on other nations. Focusing on the periphery is damaging for US foreign and domestic policy. Belief in invincibility led the US to ignore internal threats (i.e. 9/11). Resorting to force in the name of freedom undermines US values. And boosts and imperial presidency that undermines Constitution The belief that the US is beyond challenge fosters a belief amongst the American public that they deserve more than they are willing to sacrifice Led the US into massive debt and increased dependency on foreign goods (and oil) Led Americans to believe that their values are universal (and the are not).
Ferguson 2004 Yes; the world needs US leadership. But the US is currently only effective in defeating enemies, it is not able to rebuild states. The US must accept this imperial mantle and fix its internal politics in order to be effective Economic deficit: relies far too much on foreign capital; massive debt is problematic. Manpower deficit: small military force /should work with the EU/UN to coordinate peacekeeping forces. Attention deficit: American public not willing to stay the course. The first two can be fixed more easily than the third.
Bacevich 2008 No. Iraq war is an example of the worst excesses in this global unending war against terror But could also be the last straw which forces a fundamental rethink of US foreign policy. Maintaining the trappings of empire in the name of freedom damages US interests. Makes US less secure globally. And undermines US democracy. Debt is unsustainable and threatens to damage the nation. Politicians must make it clear to the public that power has its limits. Bringing our goals in sync with the rest of the world will boost US strength. Abolishing nuclear weapons Take a leadership role in fighting climate change Stop preaching to others about democracy.
Kagan 2007 Yes; the world needs US leadership Regional competition could destabilize the system without a strong US influence Ensures liberalism retains its international viability in fight against authoritarianism Creating an alliance of democracies critical for signaling international commitment to democracy US does not need to blindly push democracy, but the concept is important Joffe 2009 No alternative; The US is the indispensible nation The default power does what others cannot or will not do US flexibility can stave off decline to ensure it remains indispensible US advantages coupled with its warrior culture critical for ensuring global public goods. Warrior culture: military a function of prestige and social advancement Liberal empires key for global public goods Autocratic states do not concern themselves with global goods Excludes China and Russia as alternatives Europe lacks the warrior culture mentality to take up this mantle
Zakaria 2008 Polls suggest that Americans are feeling less optimistic about their future. The inevitable rise of China The fall of the Roman empire and the end of the British empire reinforce this feeling of decline But the US is not the British empire; the British empire had weaknesses the US does not have. The US has greater economic strength; problems are political. The UK had political strength but was weak economically.
Zakaria 2008 Overextension in Iraq and Afghanistan will not bankrupt the country. The US is not in decline US demographic and educational flexibility will preserve its role as global leader far into the future. US is not facing the same demographic crunches as Europe and Asia. Emphasis on how to think rather than rote memorization will boost efficiency and innovation. What we are witnessing is not the decline of the US but the rise of the rest The world the US created (predicated on liberal economic norms) is improving the lives of many around the world. This rise of the rest does NOT threaten the US. Welcoming the rise of the rest allows the US to project influence But US domestic politics is making this difficult
Zakaria 2008 The world benefits from US leadership But it can only be undermined from within Domestic political trends favoring isolationism threaten US hegemony Examples: Trade restrictions against China Limits on immigration and restricting student visas. US provincialism (lack of language study etc.) Puts the US at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis the rest of the world Attempting to undermine this rise would result in nationalism. Undermines US postwar leadership.
Note: New link for Fukuyama Due between 11:30 and 2:30pm on 5 December 2011 Location listed on TritonLink