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- American Primacy in Perspective
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That brings us to another problem with the global hegemon analogy: the confusion over what "hegemony" actually means.
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Some observers conflate the concept with imperialism; but the US is clear evidence that a hegemon does not have to have a formal empire. Others define hegemony as the ability to set the rules of the international system; but precisely how much influence over this process a hegemon must have, relative to other powers, remains unclear.
Foreign policy of the United States
Still others consider hegemony to be synonymous with control of the most power resources. But, by this definition, nineteenth-century Britain — which at the height of its power in ranked third behind the US and Russia in GDP and third behind Russia and France in military expenditures — could not be considered hegemonic, despite its naval dominance. Similarly, those who speak of American hegemony after fail to note that the Soviet Union balanced US military power for more than four decades. Though the US had disproportionate economic clout, its room for political and military maneuver was constrained by Soviet power.
Some analysts describe the post period as a US-led hierarchical order with liberal characteristics, in which the US provided public goods while operating within a loose system of multilateral rules and institutions that gave weaker states a say. They point out that it may be rational for many countries to preserve this institutional framework, even if American power resources decline.
American Primacy in Perspective
In this sense, the US-led international order could outlive America's primacy in power resources, though many others argue that the emergence of new powers portends this order's demise. But, when it comes to the era of supposed US hegemony, there has always been a lot of fiction mixed in with the facts. It was less a global order than a group of like-minded countries, largely in the Americas and Western Europe, which comprised less than half of the world.
And its effects on non-members — including significant powers like China, India, Indonesia, and the Soviet bloc — were not always benign. Given this, the US position in the world could more accurately be called a "half-hegemony. That position lasted until , when the US share of global GDP fell to its pre-war level of one-quarter. But, from a political or military standpoint, the world was bipolar, with the Soviet Union balancing America's power. Indeed, during this period, the US often could not defend its interests: the Soviet Union acquired nuclear weapons; communist takeovers occurred in China, Cuba, and half of Vietnam; the Korean War ended in a stalemate; and revolts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were repressed.
Against this background, "primacy" seems like a more accurate description of a country's disproportionate and measurable share of all three kinds of power resources: military, economic, and soft. The question now is whether the era of US primacy is coming to an end.
Given the unpredictability of global developments, it is, of course, impossible to answer this question definitively.
The rise of transnational forces and non-state actors, not to mention emerging powers like China, suggests that there are big changes on the horizon. But there is still reason to believe that, at least in the first half of this century, the US will retain its primacy in power resources and continue to play the central role in the global balance of power. In short, while the era of US primacy is not over, it is set to change in important ways.
Whether or not these changes will bolster global security and prosperity remains to be seen. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA Quarterly Journal: International Security. The Geopolitics of Information. People Power Is Rising in Africa. The authors analyze the trend of nonviolent overthrows of dictatorships in Africa. The Triangle in the Long Game. Summer Newsletter Photos. Photos from the Summer Belfer Center newsletter. Author: Joseph S. Nye March 11, Want to Read More?
Terrorism has also had a major impact on one of the Middle East's other most critical industries, oil. Terrorists have targeted oil facilities in several Middle Eastern nations, causing supply shortages.
Foreign policy of the United States - Wikipedia
At one point, Iraqi oil production had fallen by as much as , barrels per day because of ISIS attacks. ISIS' territory includes a number of oil facilities. The proceeds of oil sales go to the terrorist group, diverting revenue that would normally be used to finance national infrastructure projects. Even though ISIS has recently lost a large amount of territory, the terrorist organization still controls significant wells in northern Iraq— denying Baghdad of much needed revenue.
The Impact Of Terrorism Upon The Marketplace
It is easy for the Western world to dismiss the cost of terrorism in the Middle East because it is both far away and seemingly a part of daily life for the region's people. Terrorism significantly affects the Middle East's economy, to a far greater extent than it does in Europe. So it seems a critical oversight that studies have not attempted to estimate the total cost of terrorism in the Middle East, given that this region has seen the sharpest increase in terrorism PDF during the past 15 years.
Institutions in Western countries which fund these studies are, perhaps understandably, more concerned about the impact of terrorism on their own nations. In contrast, acts of terrorism in the West are viewed as dangerous aberrations.
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Though the physical impacts of terrorism in the Middle East should be the primary focus of counterterrorism efforts, financial impacts should not be ignored. There is merit in measuring the cost of terrorism as a way to identify gaps and challenges in intelligence. By identifying and protecting essential regional revenue streams like tourism and oil, counterterrorism officials could help mitigate the devastating economic effects that extremist groups inflict on the Middle East.
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