USA Hegemony Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2659 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Government

S. kept Haiti economically and politically isolated for decades and refused any diplomatic recognition until after the Civil War. In more recent history, Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest and advocate of liberation theology, was overthrown twice in military coups in 1991 and again in 2004, which had all the classic hallmarks of CIA-style covert operations. Not surprisingly, Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the world, dominated by a corrupt and repressive oligarchy that the U.S. has helped to install and maintain over many decades.

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Michael Doyle counters Rosato in asserting that Kant's Perpetual Peace between democracies is real, as is their tendency to be war-prone with authoritarian or non-liberal states. Not all groups within democracies are liberal or democratic, of course, but even non-liberal elites have to take into account public opinion and attitudes of voters when they formulate foreign policy. For this reason, they might tend to use covert rather than overt methods if they sense that their actions would be unpopular, as in the overthrow of governments in Iran, Chile and Guatemala during the Cold War. Doyle also argues that these governments may have been more popular and progressive than their predecessors or successors, but none of them were "well-established liberal democracies" and U.S. policymakers suspected that they would end up leaning too far towards the Communist bloc (Dole 465). Even so, the overall record of the liberal empires in the developing world shows repeated acts of aggression, generally to control natural resources and maintain 'friendly' governments in power, and this pattern was established well before the Cold War.

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If the theory that liberal democracies are essentially peaceful, tolerant and cosmopolitan in the foreign policies is easily demolished in the case of their policies in the Global South over the past two centuries, then a better argument can be made for discontinuity after 1945 in the case of relations between the Great Powers. Not since the invention of nuclear weapons has there been another clash between any of the imperial powers, although they came close during the Korean War of 1950-53 and in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Ever since the late-1940s and 1950s, however, Japan, Germany, Britain and France have been allied with the United States, and although this alliance has had strains over the decades, nothing has broken it, not even the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-91. These democracies obviously have no intention of going to war against each other, as Britain and the U.S. often threatened to do in the 19th Century, and came very close to doing in the American Civil War (Rosato 592).

After the end of the Cold War, Bill Clinton explicitly rejected realism and balance-of-power policies in favor of neo-Wilsonianism as he called for the expansion of liberal democracy, capitalism and free trade. Of course, these were not exactly new policies for the U.S. But could also be traced back to its pre-World War II interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Wilson himself presided over several of these in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which he at least might even have regarded as examples of benevolent, liberal imperialism. If passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and expanding NATO, Clinton could claim that he was carrying out the Wilsonian project of globalizing liberal capitalism. Even both Bush presidents could at least attempt to make the same case as well in their various interventions in Panama, Haiti and the Middle East. NATO and the European Union have continued to expand eastward, at least during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, although Russia was displeased with this from the start and reacted sharply against it in Georgia and Ukraine (Brown 49). Europe may be the one region where realism has in fact been replaced by supranational institutions since 1945, although realists still regard these as "a reflection of the distribution of power in the world" and doubt that they fundamentally alter state behavior (Mearsheimer 7).

Perhaps this continued alliance among the liberal Western powers is best explained by capitalist self-interest and political and ideological affinity, rather than pure realism and concern with national security threats. Samuel Huntington took the realist position that nation-states remain the leading actors in world affairs, but also argued that cultures and civilizations were continuing to clash as they always had in the past. For example, the conflict between the Muslim, Western and Orthodox Christian civilizations in the Balkans and the Caucuses dates back centuries, long before liberal democratic governments existed anywhere in the world. This was also the case with conflicts between Muslims and Christians in West Africa or the Sudan (Huntington 32).

Contrary to liberal theorists, no universal civilization was every likely to exist in the foreseeable future due to all these cultural and religious particularisms. Cooperation between the liberal capitalist and imperial powers in the West has continued since 1945, despite certain periods of crisis, and seems to have survived even the strains of the current recession. None of these powers would regard the collapse of NATO or the European Union as being in their best interests, and rightfully so, no matter that the structure of these organizations will have to be modified in the years ahead to meet changed circumstances. For whatever reason, major military conflict between these capitalist Great Powers still appears to be unthinkable in the future. By the same token, intervention in the weaker states of the Global South by the liberal powers has been ongoing for two hundred years, and there has been no evidence that this has changed in the post-Cold War world. Just the opposite, if anything the interventions have been as blatant and imperialistic as any that that occurred in the 19th and early-20th Centuries, when empires openly seized control of supplies of rubber, tin, oil and other raw materials or American presidents like Woodrow Wilson stated that he was going to teach the Mexican to elect good men by landing the Marines in Vera Cruz. This seems very unlikely to change in the future, even though some former colonial and peripheral states like China and Brazil might edge closer to actual admission into the Imperial Club in the years ahead.


Brown, Michael. "The Flawed Logic of NATO Expansion." Survival, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1995: 34-49.

Doyle, Michael W. "Three Pillars of the Liberal Peace." The American Political Science Review, Vol. 99, No. 3 (August 2005): 463-66.

Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Summer 1993): 22-49.

Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America's History of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. Times Books, 2007.

Mearsheimer, John J. "The False Promise of International Institutions." International Security, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Winter 1994-95): 5-49.

Renda, Mary. Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940. University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Rosato, Sebastian. "The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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