The Global Times publishes an Op Ed by Clifford Kiracofe, Jr., an instructor in history at the Virginia Military Institute. It argues that the US indulgence in strategic narcissism in its foreign policy needs a reality update.
Unfortunately, most US politicians and strategists cling to an unrealistic vision of US hegemony. They engage in strategic narcissism and argue that the US must maintain hegemony, which they call “global leadership,” into the coming decades. (Kiracofe, 2013)
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US dominance in multipolar world order remains unrealistic delusion
By Clifford Kiracofe
Source – Global Times, published April 10, 2013
Will the US remain “No.1” as a multipolar world emerges over the next several decades? Proponents of US hegemony say yes, but the future may not be so clear-cut for Americans. China, for example, will move ahead of the US economically in the medium term.
Today, the US faces profound economic and social challenges. The unnecessary Iraq and Afghan wars stole some $5 trillion from the US future to 2020 and caused present massive budget deficits.
US infrastructure is falling to pieces and needs significant update. Education below the university level is in serious crisis signaling grave long-term issues. Adverse income distribution is sharpening.
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The middle class is being crushed, social mobility is dropping rapidly, and poverty is increasing in rural, urban, and even suburban areas. Healthcare is in crisis and the national social security system and medical care system are under attack by both political parties. All are not easily reversed or papered over.
Some point to a bright energy future for the US resulting from new efficient hydrocarbon extraction technologies. Cheaper and more plentiful energy is supposed to lead to a better economic and social future, but given the significant challenges the US faces over the coming decades, is this realistic? The answer is no.
Washington politicians have yet to develop an appropriate vision to guide the US through the changing international system. They continue to pursue reckless war policies and Cold War geopolitical concepts requiring bloated defense budgets unrelated to a realistic assessment of national security requirements. In addition to military intimidation, US policy is wedded to coercive diplomacy.
The main international fact of life is that the 500-year period of Western expansion, colonialism, and imperial exploitation has come to an end. The post World War II international system is shifting toward a multipolar environment in which the BRICS countries, in particular, play an increasingly important role.
Globally, the world is undergoing a long-term economic shift in which the East and the South now provide more than 50 percent of global economic growth and 40 percent of global investment. China’s contribution is one and a half times that of the US.
According to US government research reports, China will likely overtake the US economically over the next decade or so. The World Bank says that China will contribute 25 percent of global growth by 2025, more than any other country.
Some argue that the US is the lynchpin of the international financial system owing to the US dollar as the key reserve currency in the world. But such arguments do not take into account global demands for a transformation of the international financial system. Proposals include sensible options for new reserve currencies in the interest of stability and equity.
The BRICS countries and many other countries call for updating the inadequate, unjust, and disintegrating international financial architecture left over from World War II. Profound reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank is clearly needed. But even with such reform, the present international financial situation needs new mechanisms and BRICS countries are addressing this.
Unfortunately, most US politicians and strategists cling to an unrealistic vision of US hegemony. They engage in strategic narcissism and argue that the US must maintain hegemony, which they call “global leadership,” into the coming decades. But massive US military spending to maintain hegemony is unsustainable, thus Washington emphasizes NATO growth and global expansion reaching into the Asia-Pacific region.
Those seeking to maintain hegemony through military means propound the “China threat” theory as justification for needless and counterproductive defense expenditures.
Emphasis on the maintenance of the Cold War national security state, however, impairs the long-term US economy, not to mention civil liberties and social stability. The delusions of US politicians and strategists will lead to a dark future.
It is clear that the US will not long remain “No.1” and that Washington must engage in serious reflection on its outmoded and failing policies.
The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. email@example.comAdvertisements