Hegemony In The Twentieth Century

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The twentieth century was characterized by Western economic and political hegemony on the global scale. This represented the culmination of a trend that began with European imperialism and achieved its greatest expression in the industrial, cultural, and military capabilities of the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. When we consider what might happen in the future, though, it is far from clear that this American-led Western hegemony will continue. Asian economies like China and India have already exceeded those of America’s regional allies, like Japan and South Korea. Some predict that the twenty-first century will see Asian hegemony displace the Untied States and its Western allies in terms of leadership of the global …show more content…
China has experienced incredible economic growth at a time when regional American allies, like Japan, have witnessed economic stagnation. China, in particular, has been engaging in a process of economic modernization that is lifting millions out of poverty and creating a dynamic economic base that is on pace to surpass the American economy sometime in the current century (Shambaugh & Yahuda, 2008, p.147). This economic strength has permitted the Chinese government to grow more assertive in its policy towards its neighbours, notably in its forceful position on maritime territorial disputes in the China Sea and elsewhere. It is unclear if the United States has the ability or desire to stand up for its regional allies in this dispute as its foreign policy has increasingly become focused on terrorism in the Middle East and the aftermath of its two expensive and inconclusive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. China, meanwhile, has used its economic power to demand its neighbouring countries accept its territorial and trade demands, as at the 2010 ASEAN meeting in Hanoi where the Chinese foreign minister argued that “small” countries have to accept the rule of “big” countries, like itself (Dreyer, 2015, p. 519). China possesses both the economic and military capability to make good on this threat, and it is far from clear that the United States could prevail in a …show more content…
Bisley (Bisley, 2011, pp. 104) argues that the economics of China and the West are fundamentally intertwined as there are based on a trading relationship with one another. China’s ascendance is a direct result of its economic growth, and this growth is premised on exports to Europe and North America. The economic well-being of these trading partners, in turn, is premised on freeing up those economic resources that these low-cost goods afford. In this way, China and the West are caught in “globalization’s golden straightjacket,” a co-dependency that relies on peaceful and extensive trade relations (Bisley, 2011, p. 104). Put another way, we could say that China is effectively joining the global hegemony in a position commiserate with the size and strength of its economy. China will certainly alter the international economic and political relations of the global world order, but it has every interest in maintaining a global economy that is essentially alike the one that has propelled its growth in the first

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