Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

American Unipolarity

One of the top five articles e-mailed to others this week in the New York Times was this fascinating article called Waving Goodbye to Hegemony by PARAG KHANNA, published January 27.

It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

Why? Weren’t we supposed to reconnect with the United Nations and reaffirm to the world that America can, and should, lead it to collective security and prosperity? Indeed, improvements to America’s image may or may not occur, but either way, they mean little. Condoleezza Rice has said America has no “permanent enemies,” but it has no permanent friends either. Many saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the symbols of a global American imperialism; in fact, they were signs of imperial overstretch. Every expenditure has weakened America’s armed forces, and each assertion of power has awakened resistance in the form of terrorist networks, insurgent groups and “asymmetric” weapons like suicide bombers. America’s unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order. That new global order has arrived, and there is precious little Clinton or McCain or Obama could do to resist its growth.

Its premise is that during the two terms of George Bush, American power has altered in ways he never anticipated. While he foresaw America leading the world into a peaceful place (like the Pax Romana), he never dreamed American power would unite friend and foe into powerful opposition. The author foresees a future – not that far off – where there are three major powers, the EEC, China, and the US in “a global, multicivilizational, multipolar battle.”

You can read the rest of this fascinating piece by clicking Here: Waving Goodbye to Hegemony

January 31, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cross Cultural, Geography / Maps, Leadership, News, Political Issues


  1. interesting article xpatr. i’ve only gone thru the first page but i’ll definately go thru the rest of it.

    in the near term the guy has a point,… the next couple of years will be america looking in on itself to figure out its next move.

    but in the longer term i dont agree with much of his analysis.

    the EU is hardly a united entity, and half the time they cant decide about what to do in their own backyard let alone lead the world as a united force. more members are just going to make being united harder. and as he said they dont have a military with which to police the world.

    china’s going to be much too busy with her own problems, much too busy to even think about scooping taiwan into her fold. besides 1/3 of china’s economy is controlled by taiwanese money in conjunction with the entrepreneur generals for some southern chinese provinces. the central committee cant afford to annoy either taiwan or the generals.

    as for russia, shes only become a world power because of her oil reserves, and much like kuwait the actual quantity they have is questionable. theyre just using what they have now to flex their muscle and build their war chest. basically putin is getting ready for his retirement when he joins gazprom in st petersburg as a director.

    i think its too early to assess the state of the world and americas role in the future. if nothing else i think that the us presence in the middle east will be much stronger, if less obvious, they are after all building the largest us embassy in bagdad. personally, anyone with half a head knows that a us presence in the middle east is preferable to a chinese/russian or iranian overbearing presence.

    not many people agree with me, but i do think the war in iraq will actually secure americas influence on the world for years to come as opposed to the opposite as many claim. its obvious theyre here for the oil, but only to ensure a regular flow to the world markets, not to steal it as so many think. and alot of the moves that the russians and chinese are doing now are as a result of finally understanding why the us went into iraq. and its exactly why germany and france are so friendly now,…. they know they missed out in 03 and they dont want to make the same mistake again.

    the world might become a more even playing field, but the us will remain as the dominant power because of its influence over the middle east. it may decline in popularity, but then again, no empire in history has ever been loved by all.

    my money is on bagdad once again becoming the centre of the world 😛

    Comment by sknkwrkz | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. Keep reading, Skunk! Talk to me after you’ve read the section on Turkey 🙂 I think he makes some interesting observations and it will be fascinating watching this all play out.

    We’ve already watched the world coalesce in opposition to one domineering power.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  3. America will no longer be THE super power in the years to come. I believe the current administration’s agenda has made the country unstable diplomatically. Nice topic, i likes.

    Comment by Mrm | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  4. ooh very interesting. i just got to the end of it all. i wonder if hes adjusted his view on the turkish american relationship since their incursion into iraq. i know alot of people saw it as a worsening of relations sicne the turks didnt listen but to me it looked like kind of what i was talking about in my first comment.

    i saw it as turkey and the US getting closer, cos it was within their own interests of course. the kurds were selling oil without the rest of iraq, but iraq couldnt do anything about it. the US obiously werent too fond of it, and the turks were trigger happy enough to go charging in since it serves their own agenda to keep a lid on any kurdish empowerment. this all happened within a coupe of weeks ofthe kurds signing a massive oil deal. the amazing thing was that alot of people didnt connect the two. perhaps the state department is being more subtle these days.

    there seems to be one other factor that the author seems to have missed when it comes to turkey and malaysia and the “stans” . “islamic money” or green money as they call it in turkey seems to only just be making itself really felt there. much like it has in indonesia, malaysia and the middle east. and that is really going to swing turkey away from the EU, and on terms that the turks would all be happy with, ie without losing face.

    but yeah the us and china as the two main powers, i agree with. the EU? i really dont know. if they get their act together then definately, as we can see on their united stand against iran. but EU by its very structure means that a united EU that can act as one will be very hard to come by.

    globalisation will ensure one thing,… the impotance of nationhood will decline, especially with all these sovereign funds running around. its already happening with national cross holdings etc, and the world will simply become more of a corporation, with world governments as shareholders, some dissenting some working together. and of course lobbying interest groups, but on a global scale.

    so much for the UN 😛

    at any rate, its going to be a very interesting next decade i’m sure. 😛

    Comment by sknkwrkz | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  5. Yes, Mrm, you are right – the author states the US diplomatic corps has dwindled, and needs re-structuring to cope with modern day requirements. Did you read what Skunk wrote about empires?

    Skunk – glad you read the whole thing. I thought he had a very interesting perspective, and I thought his take on the resurgence of Turkey’s role on the international scene was very interesting. I also thought of your foresight in moving your own empire to this hub before the majority catch the wave.

    I also agree with you about globalization. We are already so much more connected than we even realize.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 1, 2008 | Reply

  6. yeah i was quite chuffed with that as well 😛

    turkey seems to be an interesting gateway to the “stans”, which is probably one of the last places on earth still shrouded in some sort of mystery. i’m dieing to go traipsing around those parts!

    looks like i’ve unintentionally become an emerging market expert 😀

    Comment by sknkwrkz | February 1, 2008 | Reply

  7. Woooo Hooooo, Skunk! Cutting edge on developing markets!

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 1, 2008 | Reply

  8. Not to sure about that whole analysis, but I can see China gobbling up Taiwan. I was in China only two years ago and the students were all telling me that they would be “taking back” Taiwan after the Olympics.

    Of course the rumblings in the supposedly pacified Tibet might have set the program back a bit.

    Comment by Reaper | November 25, 2008 | Reply

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