First of all, I am very regretful for missing out on our visit to Newseum on Wednesday lab. It looks like everyone had a very interesting and valuable experience there and I look forward to visit there myself sometime.
That leaves me with one option to talk about – in-class discussion on Thursday.
We talked about realism and how the U.S. could be benevolent or not, and what makes it different from any other hegemony from the past. I just want to briefly touch on the role of the U.S. from a realist perspective that what the U.S. is doing now is a modernized form of realism. Since the world and the way it operates changed so much over time, military power by itself is not all you need to be the hegemony. You would also have to have dominance over non-military areas such as cultural, economic, and technological. The U.S. not only has the best military power and capacity, but also has the cultural, economic, technological, and social power over the world. Movies and music from American pop culture are in theaters and every corner of streets all around the world. The United States is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. The majority of existing and active humanitarian organizations and volunteers are from the United States. It is almost as if the world would not be able to function without the existence of the U.S. You can’t imagine the world without the U.S. present.
The U.S. might be playing benevolent to be recognized as hegemony, but I believe it is, at the same time, extremely threatening to the other nations. If the U.S. turns away from one, the others will do so too just to be in favor of the U.S. The reason is that no one wants to annoy the U.S. because almost every aspect of them is depended on it. The U.S. has become so benevolent to the point that its excessive benevolence is even threatening to countries. If the U.S. stops practicing its benevolence over one country, it will literally be in such chaos.
Maybe the way of maintaining the status of global hegemony has evolved a little and become complicated, but the core of it and the basic rule of dominance have never changed. Today’s hegemony just has to be benevolent enough to be threatening.