The United States of America is using democracy to dominate world politics. It does so by allowing nations to depend on the U. S. through economic relations (e. g. China and other Asian countries) and military protection as in the case of Japan and Germany. Using the concepts of “freedom and justice” it has helped many nations develop democratic policies which have in turn aided in establishing better economies for all parties concerned. However, many political asnalysts believe that the U.
S. is establishing a different kind of imperialism because it is using democracy as an excuse for meddling in the politics of other poor countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. This issue is therefore the central focus of many theories. According to Stephen M. Waltz, “realism emphasizes the enduring propensity for conflict between states. ” This simply means that nations are always at competition to gain more power and security. However, realists themselves can sometimes conflict on their views.
Charles Kindleberger, for example, has identified what is called the “hegemonic stability theory” which means that the overwhelming dominance of one country such as the U. S. is needed to stabilize and open world economy. However, scholars like Robert Koehane and David Lake believe that mere economic dominance does not ensure the strength of the United States’ influence in all parts of the world. Nor does it always become beneficial.
Paul Pillar, in his essay, Counter Terrorism After Al Qaeda, shows that insistence by the U. S. o democratize Iraq and Afghanistan in the guise of counter terrorism is proving to be more dangerous because of the opposition it is getting from different Islamic groups. He says that sympathizers of the innocent people that are caught in the middle of this warfare are uniting as “jihadists” to oppose U. S. foreign policies. Liberalism on the other hand, finds various ways to lessen the tendency of conflict among different nations by focusing on the dependency of each one because of economics and not just the drive for power and security.
According to G. John Ikenberry, we are in the American unipolar age because the most powerful nations of the world have allowed themselves to either depend on U. S. military protection or at least be dominated by American democratic ideology in certain aspects of their politics or economy. Japan and Germany, the two world powers next in line to the U. S. are dependent on American protection while Russia has forged a partnership with America with regards to their security. Even China has decided to allow economic relations with the U. S. However, according to Chalmers Johnson, extreme militarism can change the balance of power and unseat the U. S. from its unipolar throne. Michael Mann, Emmanuel Todd and Benjamin Barber agree because they too believe that U. S. imperialism is not sustainable because of the country’s dependence on the other nations.
Militarism just creates hostility instead of partnerships. Ikenberry stresses Todd’s idea that US dominance is only effective if the economy can sustain it. If the U. S. insists in its aggressive stance on militarism, its economy will decline and there will be a change in the balance of power. From the liberalist point of view, the limited power of the U. S. an also be seen in the way it is handling its problems with Iraq.
According to Fukuyama, the Bush administration’s efforts to establish greater Middle Eastern democracy, has resulted to worse issues. Although the U. S. thinks it is powerful enough to dominate its enemy’s territory by trying to instate democratic policies, Fukuyama and Paul Pillar believe it is fanning the flames toward the formation of a larger group of protesters against U. S. rule. The constructivist approach focuses on ideas and concepts instead of angles on power, security and economics to understand the political situations and predict its outcomes.
This simply means that the underlying beliefs of a certain country will influence its political decisions. As Robert Keohane and Judith Goldstein believe, the inner ideas of politicians reflect on the policies they make. Peter Katzenstein stressed that idea of pacifism was only accepted by the Japanese after World War II and this has propelled Japan to make different security policies. The need for a European social identity has been able to unite the policies of the various countries in Europe.
Fukuyama also agrees by citing what happened to the Philippines (1986), Taiwan, Poland, Serbia and other poor countries. The citizens of these nations heavily depended on the U. S. for economic and security aid. However, the only reason why these embraced democracy was because the people believed in these principles. Even with their dependence on the U. S. for many things, these countries have not allowed total U. S. domination on their policies. From the constructivist point of view, the common belief of American superiority over other cultures is behind its bravado to meddle in the affairs of other countries.
The U. S. , despite international organizations’ (e. g. United Nations) advice would rather bully Iraq and Afghanistan than listen to its other neighbors to show his leadership in international affairs. However, according Fukuyama, Asian and Soviet nations have proven that American influence on their politics can only work if these citizens believed in democracy. The U. S. cannot impose itself on countries that do not adhere to democratic principles – like Iraq and Afghanistan. It has to wait for the people to want it.
According to J. Ann Tickner, the feminist theory is about how the roles of women that have gone beyond the conservative and domestic positions do affect the political actions of a country. The feminist theory shows that the U. S. is weaker in its political decisions simply because women are already allowed to make decisions in the society. The liberated American society that has brought comfort to feminist and homosexual movements is being analyzed by some people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as one of the causes of the terrorists’ belief that they can attack the U. S. as proven by the event of 9/11.
With a woman as head of national security, the macho image of the West is being taunted more by Bin Laden’s culture where women are just secondary in social status to men. I believe that all the theories, except for the feminist, are relevant to the U. S. political acts and decisions. The realism of the U. S. needing to dominate other cultures just to secure protection, the liberalist approach by using the economic dependency of some cultures to maximize US power globally, and the prevailing American idea that people from the U. S. are mostly better than other cultures are truly evident in what is happening now.
However, the feminist theory that the U. S. is weak because of the stand of women in society is not a very strong theory because women have proven their worth intellectually in society and the matter of U. S. dominance can also be attributed to many faceless women behind it. However, the U. S. cannot deny that it has come to a phase wherein the administration has to carefully rethink its moves pertaining to democracy and foreign relations. Its superiority can only be sustained if it truly advocates the democratic principles and not hide behind the guise of terrorism to promote its own selfish capitalist and military motives.