Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Priorities of a Hegemon

Is it more important to pursue peace, or to ensure that United States retains its role as the economic and military leader of the world? Is it more important to make our country even more rich, or to ensure some basic standard of living throughout the world?

4 comments:

Dave Justus said...

Why do you think those various things are incompatible?

I would posit that the United States remaining the economic and military leader of the world is the best way to ensure peace.

Similarly, policies that promote U.S. economic growth will also promote world economic growth. Division of wealth may remain a problem, but the best (and perhaps only) method to combat poverty is economic growth, not redistribution.

Sojourner said...

Why not both?

MLKjr said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". So hooray for spreading democracy!

Then again some believe the war itself is injust...I don't know about that; but it IS expensive.

If I had to pick one I say lets make money, can't go wrong with that.

transientforeigner said...

They are not necessarily incompatible, just most likely incompatible. The United States enjoys its position as the economic and military leader of the world because it brings with it a sense of safety and control. That position can only be enjoyed by 1 nation (or possibly supranation). I really do not think the U.S. would want to be the second most powerful economy in the world or the second most powerful military power because then they are not in control, and that is a scary position to be in.

It is only reasonable that other countries desire to gain control in the world. Power is not absolute, it only has meaning in relative terms, certainly militarily if not economically. The only way this can end without an eventual arms build up or race to be the most powerful as in the cold war, is for their to come about some multinational balance of power, an international hegemon or for people and nations to simply trust that the United States will pursue peace and prosperity for everyone. The United States is not willingly going to let the first two happen, and our positions on issues in both the WTO and the UN Security Council have shown that do not have the interests of the world in mind.

The U.S. position to and stance toward the rest of the world resembles the economic life of Rockefeller. He did whatever it took to get to the top. He did whatever it took to stay at the top. Only when his position was ensured (or some might say as death neared) did he become a philanthropist. There is some irony in that the money gained by manipulating the system, cheating the weak and taking advantage of those who trusted him was, in the end, given to those crushed by the system, cheated and taken advantage of. It is not unreasonable for the recipients of the Rockefeller "philanthropy" to feel bitter.

But in what could have been a much shorter response to your question Sandcastle: I believe the United States will only pursue peace and a basic standard of living around the world as long as it can ensure its position as the most powerful military and economy.

I do think it unfortunate.

Sandcastle said...

I don't think that they must be incompatible, but they have been. Are you aware that the United States is the only country that favors militarizing space? And we won't allow any competitors. Or that Russia offered to give up claims on East Germany as early as 1952 under the only condition that the unified Germany didn't join any military organizations that particularly targeted it? Or that we are the country that consistently pulls out of treaties to limit weapons systems?