The hegemonic United States
January 08, 2013
Governance in the United States is at a standoff. The crisis over the federal budget has led many people around the world to wonder if Americans havenít lost their minds.
Ultimately, as Winston Churchill infamously observed, they may be counted on to do the right thing after exhausting all other options. But this hardly is sound policy with every new vote in Congress. Maybe the latest crisis is symptomatic of a deeper and even more serious problem.
The future of the United States - and the American experiment - seems bleak. The optimism for which Americans are known comes less readily. While pessimism is nothing unique in American history - widespread since the time of the Puritans - its prevalence today is spread by the realisation that the countryís position of global superpower may soon be lost.
This realisation, regarded as a ďpost-hegemonicĒ fact, is no longer controversial. All empires vanish eventually. Hegemony indeed may be a form of imperial rule - itís been called an empire with good manners - but thatís beside the point. American hegemony may be giving way to some other post-hegemonic condition. It is hard to say where it will lead, or what it signifies.