The primacy of leading an international coalition is termed as hegemony and it is characterized by key leadership in global organizations, economic power, diplomatic influence, military supremacy, and cultural prominence. After the Second World War in 1945, the United States (US) led other nations to establish social order. Thus, founding the United Nations Organization was a big leap supplanting the League of Nations when it failed to preserve world peace and order after the First World War. This leadership commenced the American hegemony. Since then, American hegemony, as a whole, has positive impact on global peace and prosperity. The primacy of the US in world’s issues is legitimized by its capability described in its hegemonic categories.
Leadership capability and ascendancy in global organizations is one of the primary roles of hegemonic nation that the US is able to position and act upon international crisis. This ascendancy is reflective of their primacy in major world organizations: United Nations Organizations (UNO or UN), Group of Seven (G7), World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Twenty (G20), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) among other international associations. In Inderjeet Parmar’s “Foundation Networks and American Hegemony,” he explains that the US ability to this kind of engagement was rooted and strengthened in the 1950s during the America’s rise to globalism of philanthropic foundations which support and aim to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in ideas in all aspects of societal advancement and “put knowledge to work” as programs of social reforms (3).
Up to date, American scholarship programs attract brilliant minds across the globe that creates powerful networks. These intellectuals were trapped by huge incentives that make them stay in the country and the use of their bright ideas constitute US hegemonic capacity. Parmar infers that “networks are powerful instruments that produce hegemonic results and the foundations’ networks have powerful roles in their own right, merely by virtue of being. Powerful systems for socializing and integrating intellectual talents . . . [producing] prestigious knowledge as well as strategic gatekeepers. They drew people in and marginalize others. They give full meaning to the expression that ‘knowledge is power’” (22). He further asserts that “through the foundations’ vision and operations may be more ‘transnational’ today, their attachment to US global leadership remains undiminished and therefore, recognition of the power of global networks – an aspect of America’s ‘soft power’ – is now central to American foreign policy . . .” (21).
A strong and powerful economy is another indicator that brings America as the world’s economic powerhouse. In “Democratic Hegemony and American Hegemony,” Alfredo G A Valladão explains that “more than half of the world trade is in the hands of big multinational corporations (247).” These transnational corporations are usually American companies established worldwide.
Likewise, “it is in the US that . . . the strongest concentration of the main factors that nurture the development of . . . technological and ‘managerial’ innovation, investment and risk capital resources, extraordinary trade deficits making the US the world’s ‘buyer of last resort’ and the planet economic engine, and a friendlier environment for business and individual initiative” (249). In fact, diverse commodities and manufactured products from different regions of the world particularly in China and other developing countries are in the US market. Thus, Valladão asserts that “presently, there is no alternatives that pursue economic prosperity and influence in international affairs other than participating in the dynamics of democratic hegemonism, promoted by the expansion of the US Millennium Capitalism (MC)” (258). It can also be noted that the global financial system is based on the US dollar settled by investors around the world which affirms to America’s financial power” (250).
The economic influence and control of the US sustain its military supremacy. In Michael Beckley’s “The Power of Nations: Measuring What Matters,” he explains that the most known power indicator is the gross domestic product (GDP): the value of goods and services produced within a country over a fixed period of time. Beckley also mentioned that “although GDP is technically economic indicator, proponents argue that it captures both economic and military capacity, because states can easily convert economic resources into military might. In short . . . [GDP] can be turned into ‘any mix of military, economic, and political’ resources . . .” (16). He finds out that GDP per capita thus provides a rough but reliable measure of economic and military efficiency” (19). These economic and military capabilities are pillars of diplomatic influence through aid, loans, investments, and bribes and to cultivate soft power among other things (11). These claims are true as military resources depend on the economic stability in which the country’s wealth sustains its martial power.
Aside from the US hegemonic factors discussed earlier, cultural influence through American movies is prevalent that earns billions of dollars: “Avengers: Endgame”, and Avatar among other movies shown in movie theatres worldwide. Furthermore, influence of the American music, educational scholarship programs and cultural exchanges, social media, and software technologies create new cultures and impact in today’s modern society.
Based on the facts previously stated, American hegemony continues to create positive impact on global peace and prosperity. It will last as no other nation shows interest to invest in leading the world. As Valladão says, “. . . whether we like it or not, [still] the US is the only material warrantor of global security. No other state – or coalition of states – has this kind of world capability to act and this role of a warrantor of last resort for world security has been going on since 1945 . . . there are no important peacekeeping operations without the use of American financial, diplomatic and military capabilities” (253). This assurance caters unparalleled social order and prosperity in today’s liberal world, which is more peaceful than ever before. The fundamentals of American hegemony remains sturdy as philanthropic foundations multiplies to support what America stands for the rest of the world.
Beckley, Michael. “The Power of Nations: Measuring What Matters.” International Security. Volume 43, Number 2, Fall 2018, pp. 7-44. URL: https//muse.jhu.edu/article/709433
Parmar, Inderjeet. “Foundation Networks and American Hegemony.” European Journal of American Studies [Online]. 21 February 2012. URL: http//journals.openedition.org/ejas/9476. DOI: 10.400/EJAS.9476
Valladão, Alfredo G A. “Democratic Hegemony and American Hegemony.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Jun2006, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p243-260. 18p. DOI: 10.1080/09557570600723712
Whitten, Sarah. (2019, July 20) ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be the highest-grossing film of all time. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/20/avengers-endgame-to-be-the-highest- grossing-film-of-all-time.html
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