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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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12. Conclusions 89

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89 12. Conclusions 12.1. The transience of empires and hegemonies Power constellations have emerged in all periods of human coexistence, but entities as complex as hegemonies or empires have only materialized at higher levels of development. Domination was founded for the most part on the rule of the fittest, bestowed by God himself upon the worthiest, or wielded through representation of the people. Even though all forms of rule were transient in nature, they often bore the aura of immortality. The epithet „holy“ for instance (the term hierarchy = holy order denotes nothing but this) was meant to bestow greater sanctification upon the very earthen systems of temporal rule. The history of development of types of rule and the specific accumulation of power associated therewith has by no means been linear. Periods dominated by forms of rule characterized by the rapid accumulation of power were followed by others in which rule was associated more with the renunciation and decline of power. Simultaneously occurring developments – both parallel and contrary – in the evolution of forms of rule did not permit the exploration of a general line of development, although advancing technology as a universal constant has remained a factor that influences the acquisition and maintenance of power, and the shaping of new forms of rule. Even though in the past, empires and hegemonies had at times extended across the globe, and even though the sun never set on them, there were in and beside them undominated - though disputed - territories which could...

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