At the beginning of the 21st century, the USA remains one of the most powerful states in the world. As a powerful state, the USA seeks to construct international political economies that suit its interests and its ideologies. But as the speakers have noted, converting resources into outcomes is far from automatic in world politics. Hegemony can facilitate cooperation, therefore requires an answer to the question of how a hegemonic state translates its resources, both material and ideological, into rules for the system.
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Thesis Despite the criticism and lost credibility among its allies, the USA obtains a hegemonic position in the world dictating its will and stipulating moral norms and principles important for global peace.
Schulz and Bennis underline that the war in Iraq forces many countries to oppose the USA but it does not weaken its position in the world. American hegemony in foreign politics rested on multiple sources of influence, including close political ties with the Saudi monarchy, the capacity to intervene in the domestic politics of Middle Eastern countries, military and technical aid provided to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other oil-producing countries, the preponderant military strength of the United States in the Mediterranean, and—not least—the continued availability of excess petroleum production capacity at home.
The USA uses its military power to protect an international political economy from incursions by hostile powers is indeed a necessary condition for successful hegemony. Since World War II the United States has maintained such power, pursuing a strategy of containment. In the shelter of its military strength, the United States constructed a liberal-capitalist world. Its political doctrine is based on multilateral principles and embodying rules that the United States approved.
American leadership in the world political system did not exist in isolation from NATO, and in these years each is reinforced by the other. European anxiety that the United States might withdraw its protection provided an incentive, to conform to American wishes. American military power serves as a shield protecting the international political system that it dominates, and it remains an important factor in the background of bargaining on economic issues, but it did not frequently impinge directly on such bargaining.
Political leadership builds on the interests of states and global peace. The USA seeks to persuade others to conform to its vision of world order and to defer to its leadership. American hegemonic leadership is presupposed a rough consensus in the North Atlantic area, on the maintenance of global security and global peace. Brands underline that the power and the international regimes should be established under conditions of hegemony combine to facilitate cooperation.
The leadership of the USA reduces transaction costs and mitigates uncertainty since each ally can deal with the leader and expect it to ensure consistency for the system as a whole. The formation of international regimes can ensure legitimacy for the standards of behavior that the leader plays a key role in maintaining the peace.
In his speech, Schulz criticizes the politics of the USA in Iraq but admits that its power and leadership are the main sources of influence in the world. he states: “The only way to avoid that is for the United States to immediately engage the Saudis, the Iranians, the Syrians and others in the Middle East in negotiations aimed at stabilizing the post-occupation Iraq, and the only way to do that is for the U.S. to eat a portion of humble pie” (Schulz).
Schulz states that the USA should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq to meet international human rights and freedoms. Thus, Bennis underlines that if the USA withdraws troops from Iraq it will threaten its national security and defense. Also, many politicians suppose that the US should implement its long-term policies aimed to strengthen democracy and weakened terrorist groups in this region. Following Schulz: ‘”The world is a far more dangerous place for Americans,” he said. “Even when we’re right, nobody believes us, and even when our moral leadership is desperately needed, as it is in Darfur, nobody trusts us enough to follow”. In this case, it is evident that the US military presence in Iraq is important to secure a stable political situation in the region.
Brands underline that frustrations on particular issues meld into a rewarding overall pattern of hegemonic cooperation. American policymakers believe that they need to build a consistent pattern of rules in international trade and finance. In particular, they think that their efforts to construct a satisfactory international political economy based on nondiscrimination in trade depend on the successful establishment of international peace.
Brands underline that preemptive war is the best way for America to protect its nation and security. This consensus can be viewed as the acceptance by its partners of the ideological dominance of the United States. Such acceptance rests, in turn, on the belief of leaders of secondary states that they are benefiting from the structure of order that is being created. There is thus a high degree of perceived complementarity between the United States and its partners.
The United States is to reinforce this sense of complementarity by creating international regimes that provide specific benefits to its partners as well as reduce uncertainty and otherwise encourage cooperation. The eventual success of U.S. attempts to control Arab oil also illustrates the fact that hegemony is a real phenomenon, even if American officials, continually seeking to solve more and more difficult problems, often have trouble achieving their objectives.
Lack of credibility among global states is explained by different views and visions on the problem of human rights and freedoms. The American leaders, therefore, invest resources in building stable international arrangements with known rules. It makes sense for the United States to bind itself, as well as others, in order to induce weaker states to agree to follow the American lead. American leaders do not construct hegemonic regimes simply by commanding their weaker partners to behave in prescribed ways.
Following Bennis, they have to search for mutual interests with their partners, and they have to make some adjustments themselves in addition to demanding that others conform to their design. It is important to note that the war in Iraq and the military leadership of the US protect the civil population from the authoritarian government and its attempts to control natural resources.
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In sum, the USA occupies a dominant position in the world but is often criticizes for violation of international laws and regulations. Democratic processes that aim to empower the populace with the final authority see the problem as a top-down solution. No doubt that in modern society the main role is featured in democracy and the US presence supports democratic processes in Iraq. In this situation, the purpose of US leadership is to maintain the continuity of the borders while introducing a degree of regional and local autonomy. In this case, the US’s role is to ensure political stability and security for the civil population and the world.
Schulz, William Dr. Restoring America’s Credibility.
Brands H. W. Why Foreign Policy is so Messy.
Bennis, Ph. Challenging Empire.