It is widely believed that the rise of other great powers to challenge America’s hegemony constitutes one of the realities of the present world. This is, at a minimum, misguided and potentially dangerous.
Hegemony means essentially unchallenged superiority. That may be true of the U.S. — at least until Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ perversely convinces the world that we are no longer really great.
But, wise friends in Europe today don’t see China or even Russia trying to “challenge our hegemony.”
In fact, both appear to be trying to avoid a position in which they would have no choice but to follow the will of the hegemon. By pursuing their own “spheres of influence,” these powers hope to carve out a place in the world where they’re not subject to the whims of a hostile foreign power, in this case, us.
History tells us that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Can you imagine the US moving into an absolutely dominating position in the world with a President Trump (or worse, if that were imaginable) at the helm?
At this point in time, nobody else really challenges the U.S. dominance, so why should we even consider running a race we have largely already won? It is, after all, in large part our own policies (and ideology) which fires the fears of our contestants in the world.
Isn’t there enough room for everybody on the globe?
The foregoing thoughts –slightly reworded and revised by me – came to me from a close, old friend who was his country’s Ambassador to the U.S. from one of Europe’s biggest and most important countries.
I was/am struck by the wisdom and practicality of his thoughts.
Perhaps Trump chose MAGA (make America great again) simply because he could claim credit for something that already existed. After blustering about how weak we had become, he could (and has) claimed essentially unchanged realities as great victories. With so much “winning,” he could recklessly and fearlessly go about his Presidency fluffing his feathers for no other goal than his ego.
Interestingly, many people in America go about their lives not giving much thought to Trump—other than disgust—because so far neither his blustering nor his supreme incompetence have significantly impacted their lives. Our friends in Europe, on the other hand, worry that longer term, if America is actually weakened by Trump, they will be exposed to the hegemonic power of countries they do not trust as they have trusted us.
Perhaps, if we grasped that important point, we might be better able to reign in Trump to save ourselves and our European friends. Therefore, instead of questioning the friendship of Europe, shouldn’t we be focused on shoring it up?