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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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9. Contradiction between India’s triangle strategy and the USA’s assertion of its hegemonic status 53

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53 9. Contradiction between India’s triangle strategy and the USA’s assertion of its hegemonic status 9.1. Some discord over the nuclear deal India’s strategic community had to take into consideration that American Congressmen have some problems when it comes to egalitarian thinking. For instance, some members of the American Congress, whose approval was needed for the landmark nuclear deal with India, signaled very early that agreement may be hard to obtain. US Congressman Tom Lantos, an influential Democrat in the House of Representatives International Relations Committee, announced: “New Delhi must understand how important their cooperation and support is to U.S. initiatives to counter the nuclear threat from Iran.” (Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews.com International Editor, September 12, 2005: India Wants Closer Ties With US - But Also With Iran). In this context, Goodenough made a reference to the gas pipeline: “Also sensitive is the fact that the Iranian nuclear crisis is deepening at a time India and Iran have agreed to develop a pipeline to carry gas from Iran to India, via Pakistan. Washington says it opposes the pipeline project” (ibid.). Although India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded with the comment, “Individual Congressmen can say what they want - it is a free country,” it remained to be seen whether, ultimately, the US would actually accept a strategic partnership between the United States and India that was on an equal footing. Only nineteen months later Siddharth Varadarajan mentioned the “Hyde Act” which “sums up obstacles in the way of implementation of nuclear...

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