23 Mar 2015
So what makes the United States so powerful? An even more intriguing question is how long will it hegemonic status last? These questions have been highly contested in the Political Science and International Relations field. History has given us insight as to why other hegemonies such as Rome and Britain collapsed, but it is important to make a distinction between history and Political Science, yes history lends a helping hand but it does not dictate what will happen in the future. The theories and arguments presented in this paper will represent the varying views of United States as a superpower. With the rise of China and India and the world which is seems to be shifting toward a more multipolar distribution of power it seems as if the United States is coming to an end within the next 20 years. However India and China face major internal problems such as ethnic division and political corruption that is prohibiting it from fully blossoming into a superpower. Therefore I argue that the United States will remain the superpower, but not only will the U.S. have to adopt new policies but also be willingly to accept the fact that it power will be essentially less powerful.
Fareed Zakaria's article "The Future of the American power: How can America Survive the rise of the rest": draws stark comparisons between Britain when it was the dominant force in the world and the U.S. One of the comparisons is the Boer war and the Iraq war.  There were 45,000 casualties, a loss of a half a billion pounds, and stretched its military beyond its capacity. The image of Britain was now looked at in a negative light. However, Britain contributed to its rapid decline by inefficient governance and corruption in war its war tactics  . Zakaria contest that however that Britain's fall from grace was not because of poor politics but because of bad economics. He provides an example of how Britain failed to make efforts that will facilitate growth in the future; while Britain was concentrating on producing bicycles the United States was producing 12 times as many cars  . Zakaria also points to the fact Britain chose to submit to rising power which was the United States at the time also contributed to its place as were it now as second tier the U.S.
The act of submission is significant to the future to relationships in a world is becoming more and more globalized. It has been illustrated in American foreign policy that the U.S. is reluctant to submit to any type of concession in regards to foreign policy. At the 2010 Nuclear Summit the president Barack Obama emphasized that the United States is the leader in foreign policy when it comes to combating terrorism around the world and that the actions taken by the U.S. is for the betterment of the world. What is interesting about this statement is prior to the summit president Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed the START treaty. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was symbol of a new start in U.S. Russians relations which had hit an all time low during the Bush administration. More importantly this act signals how the United States are conceding a one aspect that is paramount to its status as the Hegemonic power in the world, its nuclear weapons. Granted that once these weapons are destroyed both the United States and Russia have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the rest of the world this several times over; it was perhaps a symbol of rare cooperation between two countries who are very powerful in their own aspects, to benefit both of them especially image wise.
President Dmitry Medvedev's foreign policy is encompasses what some scholars predict will become more prominent in the international area, which is nationalism. International Law and the world are becoming multipolar.  The United States relationship with its most important international institution, NATO is becoming more and more contentious; differing opinions on the war on Afghanistan, the existence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe and its lukewarm relationship with Moscow are causing concern for the United States  . If NATO cannot come to an agreement with the its mission in Afghanistan, frankly, the U.S. war filled with many problems; a lack of trust between the U.S. and president Karzi, Afghanistan's seemingly slow response to the U.S. push towards democratization, and hundreds and thousands of Afghani casualties. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has made a recent trip to Estonia to me with NATO to help mend difference  . If differences with NATO materialize into deeper disagreement the United States could suffer a severe blow to its influence. It has been in illustrated in the past how the United States uses its influence in foreign policy to dictate and shape foreign policy that will lessen the threat against them and affords them the opportunity to control aspects of new military development with its allies and enemies  . This has been the stance of American foreign policy, an example is when Europe attempted to form its military independent of U.S. influence this of course was met with extreme criticism and backlash from the United States, this prevention of a military influence has been a policy carried by both republican and democratic administration starting with Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II  . It is unclear as to whether or not president Obama will continue this policy as staunchly as the previous presidents.
Foreign policy is not the only potential problem that the United States Fareed Zakaria argues that before the "American Dream" there was the "British way of life"  . His point being that the American dream is just as susceptible to becoming a part of history just as the British way of life has become a piece in history. However this is not necessarily true the same article American culture is constantly being perpetuated in the media around the world and English is the most common universal language, American music, movies, and movies stars are the most recognized in the world. The United States remains the most attractive place for foreign exchange students with 30% approximately each year  . Soft power can be the key to keeping America as a hegemonic power and the U.S. recognizes that.
President Barack Obama has emphasized the importance of education he has pushed to make college affordable for every American child. It is no secret the United States struggles with an inequality gap in regards to education. It is often echoed that American students are falling behind in math and science but if examined a little closer this is only somewhat true: those numbers represent the schools that do not have the resources which is a small problem now but if not fixed the third of the population that this statistic reflects will not be able to contribute to the economy and therefore will worsen the already strained economy  . He has also stressed the importance of community colleges giving those students who for whatever reason could not attend a four year university right away a chance to utilize their education in a positive way. In comparison to its two adversaries China and India, the United States schools' surpasses their educational system. The quality of education in those countries is weak when compared to the United States. An example was given that resonates and attest to this point specifically with China. China teaches its students to test while the United States teaches its students to think critically. Leaders from emerging countries recognize that being able to think critically which have inspired visits from government officials to schools. Financially the United States invests more in education than Europe: the United States invest 2.6%, Europe invest 1.2%, and Japan investing 1.1%  . America leads in nanotechnology and biotechnology two subject fields which inspire innovation and investment. What fosters nanotechnology and biotechnology to grow is engineering. Statics show that China and India are producing more engineers than the United States. According to the numbers the China produces 600,000 and India produces 300,000. However when analyzed more closely the engineers that are come out of these countries are taught to resolve or create simple task  . The United States universities' has the luxury of giving incentives to people who choose to major in engineering especially minorities because of this there has been more encouragement to youth to take on those fields, the agenda being to keep America's competitive edge. President Barack Obama has already increased the NASA budget by $6 billion pledging to conduct advance research in space, new missions to Mars, and increase earth based observation to get a better study of the earth's environment  .
What the United States is doing is building on Human capital. It is obvious that through because of the current economic crisis the United States realizes that investing in health, education, and innovation is a way to keep the country ahead of any type of competition that could be seen as a plausible threat in the near future. What gives America the advantage is that it has the capacity to invest in Human capital. As opposed to China as mentioned where there is large disparity between the rural community and the urban community and India where illiteracy rates are staggering especially among women and men. In addition Europe will be facing its own Human capital problem: because of its aging population less and less people are going to be able to work and it will become more costly to take of them. In contrast the United States is expected to see an increase in population the U.S. population is expected to increase by 65 million people in 2030  , and given the current efforts by the U.S. they will more technology sound, even more educated, and healthier than previous generations, which can only enhance the United States as leading force in the world.
It is important to recognize however the United States is facing tremendous problems. While the U.S. has tried to build a hierarchy with foreign its foreign allies with it obviously being at the top of the latter  , keeping the United States as the leader in foreign relations: it seems as if other states are becoming stronger in various ways and are pursuing their interest more so than collectivity. Proponents of the U.S. primacy believe that other states will comply with the United States because their involvement in world affairs is looked at to be in good cause for the country  . The war in Iraq, its relationship with Israel, its politics in Latin America, and the image of Washington D.C. all contribute to uneasiness in with foreign countries. A recent study shows that U.S. popularity is increased since Obama came to office. Cynicism about America's image a been a road block to American power, but a study done by the BBC published on April 18th shows that global views of the U.S. has improved over the last year, while other countries have declined  .
Part if this report shows that the U.S. has overtaken China with respect to favorably. So what does this mean for the U.S.? When countries feel threaten or insecure about a relationship with a fellow state, economic and policy agreements become more contentious and the government becomes less trust worthy, which in effect will cause restraint among projects or trade relations that will hurt both parties. If the U.S. continues to appear to less aggressive in its image there is a possibility that other countries will follow. However America will have to deal with countries that are forming "democracies" that are not molded after Westernize "democracy". This can further complicate how America pushes for Human rights, international law, and foreign policy because its influence has been diminished as other states are becoming more influential.
The world is showing that there a struggle between American ideology and shift to multipolarity. However if there is a possibility that America can still keep its status but the United States has to accept the fact that the financial crisis will have a lasting impact on its future: power is money and provides leverage, seeing that this is in jeopardy the United States will have become more cooperative with emerging states. What the U.S. has in its favor is it improving image, its leading education, and its military power that surpasses any country in the world. The U.S. has a long way to go from failing from grace, it needs to utilize its soft power, continue to build its allies, and finally continue strengthen its military. Although it will be less powerful it will still the hegemonic power of the world.
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