Towards a unipolar world: The American hegemony
The US seems to have assumed the permanent position of acting like a big brother to the nations around the world. The problem is this big brother has chosen to be a bully more than once, writes Tejasvini Akhawat
Donald Trump’s endorsement in the capacity of the US President and subsequent declaration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel poses much bigger questions than just the inter-state conflict between Israel and Palestine. When a country like the United States makes a public declaration, it has the maximum potential to create consequences that no other country possibly can. The US typically acts as a ‘local goon’ in this geo-political setting of our world. The fresh announcement by President is a testimony to this fact.
Contemplating a hypothetical situation and imagining if this announcement of recognising Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel (a country already at great peril) had come from any other nation. Making combinations, to begin with the countries antagonistic to the US — North Korea, Iran or Middle Eastern shattered nations of Syria or Yemen, or Washington allies of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea or relatively upright democratic states like India, Canada, Australia. Had the acknowledgement come from any of these above categorised countries, the effect would not have been the same to say the least. On the contrary, it would have invited antithetical reactions.
Blaming of the bizarre nature of the statement on the eccentricity of President Trump is by no means an excuse and cannot be used as a scapegoat. Agreeably, President Trump’s outlook is daunting on several issues and creates minor earthquakes in different parts with his daily tweets. Regardless of his audacity, it is not the first time the US has made claims that are not only indigestible to most nations but also independently bold enough to reinforce its hegemony. The power structure that the US is currently under, especially after the end of the Cold War era, makes it even more worrisome for the nation states. The US, while acting as the indispensable leader, also meddles in the domestic affairs of the nations by highlighting them as issues of international importance. The world has become a board game for this superpower. The use of nuclear bombs in Japan, the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War and subsequent American operations are some cases in point.
After forceful and futile tries of implementing democracy in Iraq; the human rights violation in the Guantanamo Bay post 9/11 and furthering the politics of hatred and terror, Syria and Yemen were next in row for the US backed airstrikes. Their fault was simple, they were strategically located and thus, were cursed by geography rather than human err. The initiation of a monstrous Taliban is duly credited to the States, which now is coming to haunt it back. The imposition of bans on Iran and the subsequent uplifting of it and then again revisiting this decision are all examples of the waywardness with which the States operates.
The US and its new-found fondness for Asian involvement does not spare even the righteous country like India by keeping the Kashmir issue alive, aiding Pakistan both materially and moralistically, using India vis-à-vis China and directing India’s attention to the South China Sea instead of its own backyard of Indian Ocean. Of late, the US has managed to locate a new player in the international landscape namely China and here begins the polarization and mobilization contra-China, fuelling a diplomacy competition amongst nations. All this is practiced, when Washington clearly understands that the GDP of China and its economic might is nowhere close to that of the US, nor is suppose to surpass it at least and comfortably for one good century from where it stands today. Nonetheless, US is making the world fall for this stance that China is emerging as a threat to US, whereas the truth of the matter is that the length of the Great Wall of China cannot even reach half the height of the Empire State Building.
Concentrating on how US handles diplomacy and deals with its international relations and keeping at bay the injustices and biases that the US practices in environment protection, WTO, soft power influence among several other matters, it is only fair to assume that the globe is a Puppet Show for the US, which it invariably and single handedly enjoys. It is not just about the actions of a nation, rather an attitude that it poses which translates into policies and ideals it upholds. The unabashed and unapologetic tone of dealing with nations it despises and the ones that are compliant to it is what irritates the world order. Amusingly the US does not even possess the minimum decency to apologise for the wrongdoings that it was responsible for. This is one lesson it has learnt from the Brits if it is to maintain its world hegemony. The ‘What the Hell’ and ‘Whatever’ philosophies of the States have been firm and are strengthening with the passing of time. Ironically, the US would not have tolerated the violations of any of these theoretical principles that it supposedly follows, for its own people. Nor the American citizens would have cared to endure their unjustness, if the government was not virtuous towards them.
This highlights two important themes. First is the ethical and political authority the US roisters in attempting to act in an exemplary manner leading to compliance by all nation states. Secondly, the underlining of the fact that the current setting of the world is unipolar in nature. No matter how many international/regional forums we establish, or legally challenge the authority of the US, the fact remains that the US is the undisputed leader of the world. Its statements/actions are looked forward to and are analysed and assessed regardless of their lackadaisical orientation. What is more unfortunate is that the unilateral nature of this world is not going to perish anytime soon with implications to follow. Moreover, global peace and prosperity will surely be a distant dream if the US continues to act as a bully and as per its instant wishes and desires without having to provide the due concrete and righteous concessions or shares to any particular country or global/regional forums.
The writer is a PG in International History from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, and is currently pursuing internship with the Speaker’s Research Initiative, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament of India, New Delhi
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