Decline of US Hegemony – UPSC GS2

  • The US hegemony started after the end of British imperialism in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis (1956).
  • After, six decades-long control over the world order, the authority of the US has started declining.
  • As a result, the world will witness a more decentralised and pluralistic global order.
Reasons why the authority of the US is declining?
  • Rise of China as a rival to challenge the US hegemony. For example, China is the world leader in renewable energy, dominates global investment and trade, and with a military budget of $230 billion.
  • Rising economic power of the BRICS nations that are aggressively building a parallel economic order.
  • A decline in America’s image as a result of Trump-era policies. For instance,
    • Threatening to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
    • Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change
    • Poor handling of the marginalized immigrants
    • Apathy towards Democratic values in support of ultra-nationalism and ethnic purity.
  • Rising impact of Asian Regionalism on international trade and commerce with China spearheading Asian regionalism.
USA will continue to play a prime role in the international world order. Because its economy and Military strengths are still unmatched, and the global dominance of its MNC’s.
What role can China play to control the hegemony of the US?
  • China must strengthen the opposition to the West through the promotion of regional multilateral institutions. China’s self-centred policies such as Belt and Road Initiative and the Silk Road project have raised scepticism among the other countries. Hence, China must push to harmonise regional tensions.
  • Power rivalry in a multipolar world is a possibility, and it will give rise to military conflict. For instance, Russia’s assertion of power in Georgia and Ukraine, India’s disputes with Pakistan and China’s infiltration into India, etc., China must resist using its military might in the Power rivalry. Rather, it should focus on challenging the established western world economically.
  • China adopted the idea of absolute sovereignty and followed the nation-state model. This helped China to rise as a global superpower. But it cannot continue to rise by following the same idea of absolute sovereignty. It needs to ensure the liberal democratic model, to gain trust from other countries. Otherwise, U.S will deepen the divide against China. For instance, the U.S is already encouraging NATO members to join the US against China.
Way forward
  • The developing countries should attempt to overcome their territorial aspirations. They should prioritize cultural mediation and democratic values.
  • They should increase their cooperation through mutual sharing of knowledge and signing inclusive treaties.
  • This will help them to tackle the challenge posed by the western hegemony

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