11 September heralded and provided a pretext for a more aggressive but increasingly contradictory American hegemony. Some of the consequences are contrary to the United States' own interests. Its new doctrine of 'preemptive strike' against other sovereign states encourages similarly belligerent behaviour by other governments, and yet more terrorism by nonstate actors, the very threats which were to be eradicated by a re-asserted US hegemony. This essay focuses on three partly overlapping themes: different strategies towards allies - multilateral and unilateral; different forms of power - civil and military; and different ideologies of globalisation - neoliberal and neo-conservative. It argues that while US policy may oscillate between such poles, it often combines the different elements. The overall strategy of the Bush administration is best characterised as unilateral multilateralism. The main issue for US hegemonists is the ways in which their hegemony might best be exercised, maintained and strengthened vis à vis allies and rivals. But for a safer, more democratic world, the choice does not lie between one faction of US hegemonists and another: we need other alternatives such as cosmopolitan democracy and a genuine internationalist movement which would give it some much-needed substance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations