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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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5. The development of a new global interaction of powers resulting from India’s emergence as a new global player 33

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5. The development of a new global interaction of powers 5.1. India’s helping hand to the United States Growing fears of the critical nature of developments in the American-Chinese relationship led the Bush administration to look at India as a potential, willing partner to counter China’s seemingly unshakeable self-confidence. Thus India was courted by the US government and invited to join the American-Japanese duo in tethering China.8 Asked about the challenge posed by China to the US, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice replied “I really do believe the U.S. - Japan relationship, the U.S. - South Korean relationship, the U.S. - Indian relationship, all are important in creating an environment in which China is more likely to play a positive role than a negative role. These alliances are not against China; they are alliances … that put China [on] a different path to development than if [it] were simply untethered, simply operating without that strategic context.” (Siddharth Vardarajan, America, India and Outsourcing Imperial Overreach, The Hindu, July 13, 2005). The little more than 100 individuals that make up India’s strategic community9 realized at once that this engagement could give India the opportunity to exert considerable influence - to begin with, in the region of the Indian Ocean and, thereafter, in the South China Sea. As one of the leaders of the non-aligned bloc, India very early recognized the special form of hegemony that the USA and the Soviet Union established after the Second World War, based on the two factors of...

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