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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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10. Europe’s options – factors to be considered by the EU in evolving a suitable approach to the Asian trilateral axis 61

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10. Europe’s options - factors to be considered by the EU in evolving a suitable approach to the Asian trilateral axis 10.1. Economic interests and geo-political realities In his article published in the weekly Die Zeit of October 11, 2007, Günter Hofmann pointed to the absence of a German statement on US containment policy. He confronted German leaders with the urgent question as to how the government would like to respond to US containment strategy. Actually Hofmann addressed his question to all the members of the European Union. He also proposed that the Europeans pay attention to their relationship with China and Russia in their efforts to create a balanced cooperative relationship with the USA. Within the EU, a discussion was launched among its various members as to how to adequately respond to the new interregional Asian policy. In balancing its traditional transatlantic relations with a closer relationship towards the strengthening Asian triangle, the EU signaled that it did not intend following the US containment strategy towards China and Russia. The EU thereby challenged the hegemonic claim of the United States and consequently had to face a harsh reaction from the Bush administration. Possibly the USA retaliated by cooling off the US-EU relationship or by splitting up the various EU members into cooperative East Europeans and the United Kingdom on the one hand, and the rest of the – indignant – West European allies on the other, in the process playing one side off against the other. Of prime importance for...

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