Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The end of American hegemony

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's the end of the world as we know it:

A new report by the intelligence community projects that the United States will no longer be the world's only superpower by 2030.

"In terms of the indices of overall power – GDP, population size, military spending and technological investment – Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined," the report concludes. 

"Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" – prepared by the office of the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – projects that the "unipolar" world that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union will not continue.

"With the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and no country – whether the U.S., China, or any other country – will be a hegemonic power," the report argues.

Needless to say, non-jingoistic American observers and pretty much anyone with any sense all over the world have seen this coming for a long time, and certainly much of the world is eager for the period of American hegemony to come to an end.

But it is cause for rejoicing?

As bad as the U.S. has been throughout much of his hegemonic history (think of its activities in Latin America in support of brutal authoritarian dictators like Pinochet, among other things -- needless to say, Pax Americana has been rather short on the pax), it has also been a force for good. And, what, you think China is the answer? Or some anti-democratic multipolar world of corporate control? Yes?

I'm just saying, as far as hegemons have gone, there have been worse. And could be worse. Careful what you wish for.

For more on this, see Christopher Layne's interesting piece at The Atlantic from back in April, "The End of Pax Americana: How Western Decline Became Inevitable."

Yes, it's over. Just about.

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