Personal Injuries Information Portal.

HomeTypes of Personal InjuriesLegal RightsTips and ArticlesSitemapResourcesDirectory




American Hegemony

The nineteenth century ? "the Victorian age" - effectively began in 1815, with the Battle of Waterloo, and ended in August 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War. During that 99 years, the British with their enormous navy and vast overseas possessions, maintained a kind of hegemony which insured almost a century of relative peace in the world and an expansion of free trade that reached its pinnacle at the turn of the 20th century and has not been matched since then.By the 1880s, the British had lost economic supremacy to the United States and Germany, and then were severely weakened by the carnage of 1914-18, resulting in a power vacuum such that the twentieth century is already looked upon as the most destructive period in human history.

Germany's challenge had failed by 1917 both on the high seas and in the trenches of Flanders, while the United States maintained its isolationist stance, but the British were nonetheless forced off the Gold Standard and unable to influence the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany. With no one at the helm the world drifted towards disaster.Protected by two oceans and with colossal economic potential, the United States recovered from Pearl Harbor within six months to smash the Japanese carrier fleet at the Battle of Midway, effectively putting the Japanese into a defensive position from which they were never able to recover.

In the European theatre, the German military machine was crushed between Russian armies in the north and east, American and British armies in the south and west, with the great bulk of the fighting falling on the Russians. Although the British Empire survived the war intact, that 500-year saga had effectively come to a close, and in the next 30 years the British entirely dismantled that empire which had once encompassed about a quarter of the world. As Europe lay in a kind of devastation not seen since the Black Death in the first half of the fourteenth century, the Soviet Union and the United States challenged each other for hegemony of the world, a struggle that ended in 1989, marked by the collapse of the Berlin Wall with complete victory to the United States.

This event marked the effective ending of the dismal twentieth century, at the same time the shortest and the bloodiest century in human history. It is from that legacy that the world today is recovering.How is the United States doing as the hegemonic power? As a military power it is wholly unrivaled and indeed unchallengeable.

The United States operates eleven carrier battle fleets, each of which constitutes a greater concentration of destructive power than all ordnance expended in World War II. Unlike the British who only ruled the waves, the United States rules all the oceans and the whole of the world's airspace. How many carrier battle fleets exists in opposition to America's eleven? The answer is none. In addition, the United States continues to maintain a nuclear arsenal more than adequate to destroy human civilization as we know it, because in an interdependent world the use of nuclear weapons would indeed be a shock as disastrous for the perpetrator and for the victims.

Yet accompanying this unparalleled military might, there are signs of weakness that give cause for concern. The United States has become the world's largest debtor nation, in marked contrast to the nineteenth century British who always maintained its position as a net exporter of capital until the start of World War I. Two-thirds of the US economy relies upon consumer demand, and the goods that the consumer demands are overwhelmingly now manufactured in Asia. Wal-mart estimates that six out of every seven items sold in its stores are manufactured in China. General Motors recently announced plans to layoff another 25,000 workers, and Moody's recently lowered Ford Motors borrowing capacity to junk bond status.

The People's Republic of China, a supposedly communist state, just bid to purchase Unocal. This trend will continue. Notwithstanding strategic concerns, foreigners now own so large a percentage of U.S. government debt that American control of its own destiny is in jeopardy.

The United States remains preeminent in some areas, particularly computer software, chip design, and of course military hardware. But the manufacturing center of the world is now Asia, particularly China.Meanwhile, the nations of Europe have accomplished what amounts to a peaceful revolution of world importance. After ceaseless fighting each other since time immemorial, in 1945 the heartland of Europe lay in ruins. It seemed as if the Europeans had finally done it to themselves once and for all.

The rebuilding of Europe into a semi-coherent political body and functioning economic body has been so successful that today's European Union, consisting of 25 nations with as many or more different languages, is today a slightly larger economy than the United States, in spite the fact that nearly all European countries are socialist. Notwithstanding the recent "no" vote of the French and Dutch on the next stop forward toward political unity, no one in Europe is suggesting taking a step backwards, and the forward progress has been very remarkable indeed. It is today as inconceivable that France will go to war against Germany as that Idaho will go against war against Nebraska.The United States maintains 725 overseas military bases.

Yet it is encountering increasing difficulty in maintaining its far-flung commitments. As historian Niall Ferguson wrote recently [Colossus, 2004], the United States suffers from three deficits, a manpower deficit, an economic deficit and an attention deficit. The military is having difficulty maintaining even its commitment in Iraq, with numerous units required to serve four or more recurring tours of duty. Politicians are starting to call for a return to the draft.Americans have always tended to be inward looking with isolationism as a respected attitude, understandable considering the massive size of the continental U.S.

This is neatly illustrated by comparing two different songs, the American anthem with its refrain "From sea to shining sea," with the English song "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves." The different perspectives are unmistakable. Yet the United States shouldered its worldwide commitments, starting with its extraordinary success in World War II, followed by its long commitment to confronting the Soviet empire, leading finally to today's hegemonic status. It is of great interest to world civilization that the United States uses its "term in office" to the best possible effect.Today the world has shrunk while the population has soared. It took nearly complete destruction for the Europeans finally to conclude that the day of the nation-state is effectively over, and that the only way forward is closer and closer cooperation.

That also is the only way forward for the entire world, because serious fighting in today's world is increasingly like fighting in one's own backyard, and with today's weaponry this is risky indeed.That is why it is disturbing to notice the current U.S. trend back into a kind of isolationism in terms of international cooperation.

American withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty evidences an ostrich-like attitude towards the world's accelerating environmental problems. The catch phrase "The economy comes before the environment," poses an entirely false choice ? not only the economy but our entire lives are embedded in and dependent upon preservation of the environment. Disdain towards other nations, withholding of United Nations dues, refusal to recognize the International Criminal Court, outright rejection of the International Land Mine Treaty, and a host of similar isolationists decisions bodes ill for a country whose very economic system is heavily dependant for viability upon foreign investments.All the problems that we face both as Americans and citizens of the world are manmade.

The United States is the hegemonic power of the world for the foreseeable future. It remains possessed of massive resources, its people have immense energy and resourcefulness, and it is still in a position to exert tremendous influence on the outcome of world affairs. But does it have the will to do so? An isolationist mind-set is no longer an option because everything the U.S.

does or fails to do has repercussions worldwide. All of us have to start thinking both internationally and holistically. International lawyers may have a vital role in the next twenty-five years.

.Charles B. Parselle is a mediator, arbitrator and attorney. He graduated from Oxford University's Honor School of Jurisprudence and is a member of the English bar, then was admitted to the California Bar in 1983.

A practicing attorney, he is a prolific author and sought-after mediator. For a free consultation, please contact him through his website: http://www.parsellemediation.


By: Charles Parselle

Personal Injuries

WHO CAN COLLECT MY RECEIVABLES - The internet provides many resources when you need to find a firm to assist.

What if There Were Legal Justice in the United States - What if the courts in America could be trusted with justice? What if there really was legal justice in our nation? What if there were not totally politically motivated prosecutions and investigations?.

Lemon Law Expert - Lemon Laws in the US were established to help protect the consumer against the purchase of a bad product, most notably automobiles.

New Jersey DWI Penalties - Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey attracts a bunch of penalties that includes fines, charges and surcharges, imprisonment or mandatory counseling.

I have rights - Nature's Rights.



© Copyright All rights reserved.
Unauthorized duplication in part or whole strictly prohibited by international copyright law.
Home Sitemap