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No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Charles-Philippe David and David Grondin have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, , to be identified as the editors of this work. Bush 1. National security - United States 2.

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World politics - 21st century 3. United States - Foreign relations - 21st century 4. United States - Foreign public opinion I. David, Charles Philippe II.

Grondin, David Includes index. ISBN 1. United States--Foreign relations 2. Hegemony--United States. World politics Balance of power. Bush, George W. George Walker , I. David, Charles-Philippe. Grondin, David. H45 Such a construction — limiting, as it does, our ability to understand both ourselves and others — needs to be rhetorically reconstructed to serve the needs of globalism as different nations struggle toward their own definitions, policies, and practices.

The first step in such a rhetorical reconstruction is to become aware of our own language choices and the narratives and assumptions embedded in these choices. Indeed, over the past five years, no subject has been more studied or discussed in world politics than the sheer extent of American power as imperialism, empire or hegemony, sometimes as praise but most frequently as resentment. A number of recent commentators and analysts have in fact noted the possibility of an imperialist turn in the conceptualization and prosecution of US foreign policy.

Sadly, in many cases, one can say that the emperor has been stripped of his clothes — and most of the time he was not even an emperor. In these instances, the galvanized epithet appears in itself as superfluous for the harsh criticism would have been levelled at the US no matter what. A fortiori, it sure possesses some analytical power, as it takes into account the importance of rules, norms and institutions.

Medhurst and H. Gramscian concept of consensus and persuasion as well as the classical view that highlights the role of military power and coercion in the evolution of US foreign policy. All the more reason that most of the authors in this book implicitly or explicitly tackle the concept of US hegemony more than they take issue with empire. If it is an empire, it is a peculiarly incoherent and increasingly hollow one. It is better seen as increasingly subject to pressures from the very hegemony it has released on the world.

Even so, there would still be nominal issues to consider. One cannot help but notice how sentiments of anti-Americanism have been expressed in several places where they could not have been thought possible or at an intensity never before reached. No matter what name American power has been given, whether it is empire, imperialism or hegemony, one must take a step back and reassess the exercise and representation of American power as well as its perception since George W.

Bush took office. Yet it is under constant and even growing challenges in several spheres and ways. According to the exceptionalist narrative, the United States has been anything but an empire. Therefore, it could, would and shall never be compared to other empires in history, present or past. Furthermore, has it come to a point that US nationalist expansion has become a sham and shameful quest for power? This is the result of cartography, where territorial representation exists as a mental or illustrated map. The globe in its entire cartographic representation is of interest to the US, because it has global power, responsibilities and interests.

This is why, in the study of US power and of its redefinition, one needs to study both the US in its national context and abroad. But for that to happen, a dominant discourse writing the nation must be assessed for the United States of America. We are thus interested in the narratives that construct the US as it exists as a political entity in its dominant story of a unified United States of America.

Shapiro and Hayward R.

Agnew and Jonathan M. In it the people recognize their ambivalent constitution between word and flesh. In it the people recall their authority. Three factors were especially important in catalysing this change. First, the crisis made it painfully obvious to East Asian policymakers that there were potential costs as well as benefits from integration into a global economy, especially one characterised by rapid, massive movements of mobile capital.

Finally, it was equally apparent that the region had little indigenous capacity to deal with such crises, and hardly any effective leadership within the region itself. China was the only country to emerge from the East Asian crisis with its position unambiguously improved.

What was less obvious was how this possibility would be reinforced by the increasing emphasis on security in the wake of September US foreign policy was significantly reconfigured, undermining the foundations of the most distinctive and enduring aspects of American hegemony and leadership: its legitimacy-conferring, confidence-inducing, multilateral institutionalisation. The Obama administration, of course, promises significant change from its predecessor, and great hopes are held about what this may mean for inter-regional relations.

Certainly, the rhetoric has changed, and much greater importance is attached to multilateralism and cooperation. Whatever the foreign policy style and rhetoric of the Obama presidency, many prominent American observers continue to believe that the US remains an indispensable actor in East Asia and elsewhere, no matter who may be running the country. One of the most tangible manifestations of this possibility can be seen in the creation of new institutions in East Asia that self-consciously exclude the US. A number of points are worth emphasising about this development.

Not only has there not been a major war in the region since , but China has been an increasingly integrated and important part of the regional economy since the Sino-US rapprochement of the early s. The Obama administration confronts a very different geopolitical and economic landscape in East Asia than did its predecessor.

China is not only effectively bank rolling the US government and providing an increasingly important market for its neighbours, 97 but it is rapidly assuming a regional and international leadership position to match its economic importance. When attempting to gauge the extent of American influence or leadership in East Asia, much depends on the time frame we adopt.


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When seen in the long sweep of history, the fact that there is no longer an ideological rival in the region, and that China is a capitalist country in all but name, are clearly developments of the utmost significance. The symbiotic economic relationship that has developed between the US and China is even more remarkable. Significantly, US policy during the Cold War—the period in which this transformation was incubating—was characterised by a high degree of integration in the agential and structural components of American power. Not only was the unambiguous ascendancy of the American economy of crucial importance to the rest of the world, but American policymakers were able to reinforce this material dominance in an institutional order that reflected its norms and furthered its broadly conceived national and strategic interests.

The foundations of this earlier order look more fragile than they once did. True, the Bretton Woods institutions are still with us, but their authority is less assured. The recent crisis that had its origins in the US not only raised questions about the durability of Anglo-American capitalism, but also highlighted a more fundamental long-run problem: the material importance of the US economy to East Asia is simply not as great as it once was.

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On the contrary, of late it is the US that has become increasingly dependent on East Asia generally and China in particular to underwrite its budgetary position. Without the continuing willingness of countries such as China and Japan to continue buying American government debt, the policy options of the US government will be increasingly constrained. True, this is something of a two-way street that poses dangers for lenders as well as the borrowers, but the net effect has surely been to diminish the relative attractiveness of the Anglo-American model.

While the structural dominance of American economic interests may be in decline, it is of course possible that effective policy might limit or even reverse some of the damage inflicted during the Bush years. The great hope for the US is that the Obama administration will prove more effective than its predecessor. At one level, it could hardly be otherwise.

Is this the end of the American century?

Indeed, it is no longer difficult to imagine East Asia generally and China in particular assuming a more independent and influential role on the world stage. He wrote this article for The Asia-Pacific Journal. I would like to thank Mark Selden for some very constructive and insightful suggestions. The usual caveats apply. See, for example, Ikenberry, G.

New York: Basic Books. New York: Metropolitan Books. London: Verso. New York: Columbia University Press. Ikenberry ed. See, for example, Ricks, T. Cambridge, Mass. See Waltz, K.