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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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3. The rise of the USA as a hegemonic power 21

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3. The rise of the USA as a hegemonic power 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 3.1.1. The intra-Western triangle of USA-West Europe-Japan The fundamentals of a long-term US foreign policy were set down in the Munroe Doctrine of 3rd December 1823. Under the slogan “America for the Americans”, it proclaimed the existence of two political spheres, called for an end to all attempts at colonization in the Western hemisphere (thereby achieving a state of non-colonization) and warned of US intervention in cases where the European colonial powers ignored these political tenets. Once Latin America was geopolitically demarcated as America’s backyard, the trade relations of the Central and Latin American states came to gradually be reoriented to the United States. Even before the end of the Second World War, the USA brought the South and Latin American states together for the Inter-American Conference of Chapultepec on 8.3.1945. The Act of Chapultepec contains assurances of mutual support in the event of attacks on any of the signatory countries. With this Pact, which was later followed by the Defense Pact of Rio de Janeiro on 30.8.1947, the USA assured itself – just six months before the adoption of the United Nations Charter on 24.10.1945 in San Francisco – that the American hemisphere would be free of intervention from non-American powers. This move was rooted in the thinking that in coming into force, the Charter – which aimed...

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