DECLINING US HEGEMONY
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DECLINING US HEGEMONY (OR CHANGING WORLD ORDER)
Some important highlights of Global Politics in 2019
- China’s growing assertiveness in the trade as well as in foreign policy.
- Iran’s calculated defiance of the USA.
- The emergence of Turkey as a key player in West Asia.
- The relative decline of America’s power.
How the US has shown its dominance in the past few decades
- It controlled and manipulated global institutions like the UN, IMF, and World Bank
- It maneuvered international support in its favor to attack Afghanistan and Iraq despite UN opposition.
Developments suggesting a decline in the US’s ability to shape global politics
The Afghan War:
- The war which started in 2001 is nowhere near the conclusion.
- The US entered into the war to topple the Taliban regime but lately, it is actively negotiating with the latter.
- The whole Afghan fiasco indicates that the USA has superior conventional power and hence it can topple any regime, but it lacks the prowess to stabilize the governments that it props up. The early withdrawal of the USA from Afghanistan will leave Afghanistan troubled for a very long time.
The Iran standoff:
The current standoff between the USA and Iran began after the unilateral withdrawal of the earlier Nuclear deal followed by the attack on General Soleimani.
The idea was to put immense pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the nuclear deal.
- But Iran countered this “Maximum Pressure” by “Maximum Resistance” and also took the following aggressive actions:
- It shot down an American drone and captured British oil tankers
- Attack on Saudi oil facilities by Houthi rebels, who are closer to Iran.
Cracks in NATO
- The creation and sustenance of NATO have been led by the USA to counter the now dysfunctional USSR. But the military alliance has come under strain in the recent past due to the following reasons:
- The emergence of populist and nationalist leaders who view these alliances as too much commitment (Trump in the USA, Erdogan in Turkey, and Putin in Russia).
- Actions on behalf of Turkey
- It created a buffer zone in bordering areas of Turkey to be guarded by a combination of Russian and Turkish forces.
- Turkey has purchased an S-400 missile system from Russia which led to its expulsion from F-35 (considered the most advanced fighter jet) program.
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an alliance of countries from North America and Europe committed to fulfilling the goals of the North Atlantic Treaty (Washington treaty) signed in 1949.
- NATO originated after World War II to counter the expansion of the Soviet Union into Central & Western Europe through the Warsaw Pact.
- NATO’s cores tasks are: Collective defense, Crisis Management & Cooperative security