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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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7. India’s current course 41


7. India’s current course 7.1. The scenario of a new East-West conflict avoided For a while, India had been pursuing its ‘shortcut’ to achieving the status of a global player, nudged on by the optimism of some generals and admirals of the Indian armed forces. For instance, Admiral J.G. Nadkarni wrote, “. . . Under the new defense agreement both countries will work towards greater defense cooperation which will include more joint exercises, collaboration on multinational operations, access to US weapons and technology, technology transfers, an expansion of two-way defense trade, expanding collaboration on missile defense, increase in the exchange of intelligence, and a number of other areas relating to cooperation in peacekeeping operations and disaster management.” (J.G. Nadkarni, Terms of India-U.S. Endearment, in The Asian Age, 30 July, 2005). If India’s policy had evolved in line with Nadkarni’s ideas, the USA would have taken the place of Russia as India’s main supplier of military equipment, a position Russia held for a long time. At that time an Indian expert on international relations asked himself whether he would like to see the USA or China on the winning side of a new ‘East-West’ conflict. His answer came as no surprise. Because China is geographically closer to India, his preference was for the United States, even if the Bush administration could be expected to make a failure of it as it did in the Iraq war. If more influential Indian experts were to have responded in similar fashion23, the interplay of world powers would...

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