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US Hegemony

Global Ambitions and Decline- Emergence of the Interregional Asian Triangle and the Relegation of the US as a Hegemonic Power. The Reorientation of Europe

Reinhard Hildebrandt

With the end of the ‘East-West’ conflict in 1990, an entirely new constellation seemed to emerge for the first time in the history of mankind. This was perceived by the power elite in the USA as a useful challenge to lend its – until then territorially restricted – hegemony a global dimension. From the perspective of the US elites (Francis Fukuyama), a period of indefinite American control over the rest of the world, in which there would be no more scope for potential rivals to emerge, would characterize the end of history. But some years later, the USA had to accept that the dual hegemony it had built up together with the Soviet Union was fundamental to the continued existence of American hegemony. Its inability to sustain a global hegemony revealed itself in the severe setbacks it suffered in the three wars waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and against the so-called international terrorists. Undeterred by the USA’s imminent isolation, influential US experts insisted that US policies were still in line with the US’ general perception of its role in the world: firstly to work for the good of the world and, secondly, to exercise its military might even when the rest of the world opposed it. Ignored for a long time by these very experts were the emergence of the interregional Asian triangle (China, India, Russia), Europe’s reorientation and, in consequence, the USA’s relegation as a hegemonic power.

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1. Rapid change and new formation 11 2. A new theoretical approach 13 2.1. Introduction 13 2.2. The difference between empire and hegemony 13 2.3. A different theoretical approach: Beyond traditional thinking 14 2.3.1. An analysis of contradictory terms 14 2.3.2. The East-West conflict: an example of a power struggle in a dual hegemony 16 2.4. Essentials of a trilateral axis 17 2.4.1. The difference between geopolitical stability in a dual hegemony and a strategic partnership between two global players 17 2.4.2. The trilateral axis as a combination of strategic partnerships and normative consequences 18 2.4.3. The double structure of interplaying global powers, transnational corporations (TNCs) and financial capital 19 3. The rise of the USA as a hegemonic power 21 3.1. Forty years of an intra-Western triangle involving the USA, Japan and Western Europe and the East-West conflict as the basis of US hegemony 21 3.1.1. The intra-Western triangle of US-Western Europe-Japan 21 3.1.2. The East-West conflict as the second pillar of US hegemony 22 3.2. The emergence of the dual hegemony of the USA and the Soviet Union 24 4. Different patterns underlying the global interaction of powers 27 4.1. The USA: empire or hegemony? Two controversial views 27 4.1.1. The USA as an empire 27 4.1.2. The USA as a hegemonic power 27 4.1.3. The USA still a hegemonic power? 29 4.2. An American attempt to replicate the structure of the former ‘East-West’ conflict – the tethering of China 30 5. The development of a new global interaction...

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