By Micah Meadowcroft, The American Conservative
The U.S. squandered the unipolar moment, but we aren’t into simple multipolarity quite yet.
The collapse of the Soviet Union began nearly two decades of American unipolarity. During that time, U.S. leadership pursued a strategy of what international relations scholars call liberal hegemony. Steering the world’s sole superpower (thus “unipolarity”) American policymakers took the opportunity to build new international institutions and transform old ones in the name of liberalism and democracy.
But by pursuing financialized global economic interdependence and interventionism on behalf of liberal democracy, the U.S. prioritized an idealized vision of world stability over the economic welfare of its own citizens, the lives of the citizens of countries it has chosen to invade, and, increasingly clear, the security of the very international order it claimed to protect. Liberal hegemony was unable even to maintain American primacy, assisting China in becoming a strategic rival and producing instability elsewhere. The unipolar moment appears to be passing. Though America remains the preponderant power globally, China’s rise and other factors seem to signal the return of a multipolar world, perhaps in the form of what theorist Aris Roussinos calls “civilization-states.”
Categories: Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy