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USA’s Global Predominance
|by Dr. Subhash Kapila|
The United States has enjoyed an unchallenged global predominance ever since the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the erstwhile Soviet Union. The United States during the Cold War years had to contend with the global countervailing power of the Soviet Union in the strategic regions the world over. The Cold War era in terms of international relations provided a predictable template for both the major powers and the lesser powers too. In such an environment even at the level of the two superpowers each virtually respected the strategic sensitivities of the other and their respective spheres of influence. Regional conflicts for various reasons did take place but not allowed to cross red lines where the two superpowers would be involved in a direct conflict.
In the period ensuing the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States had a free run across the globe and was able to impose its own strategic agenda in the vital strategic regions of the world extending from Europe to the Pacific. In this process the United States was able to unravel the Warsaw Pact from Eastern Europe and extend NATO'S boundaries to the doorsteps of heartland Russia. In West Asia ,the United States was able to launch the two Gulf Wars against Iraq with impunity .In East Asia, China which had been a quasi-strategic ally of the United States in the penultimate stage of the Cold War and now displaying trends towards strategic autonomy was being put under strategic pressure by the United States on grounds of democracy and human rights violations.
The United States free run in its global predominance was facilitated by a number of factors. China's military modernization was still in a nascent stage. Russia was still dominated by a leadership which viewed itself now as a natural ally of the West. In West Asia in Gulf War I , prominent Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria had been coalition partners of the United States war against Iraq for reasons of their own.
In the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century things seem to be changing. The United States unrivalled global predominance seems to be increasingly coming under challenge. Russia is in the process of both strategic and economic resurgence. China's military modernization and its strategic intent is now being perceived in the United States as a threat in East Asia and the Pacific. Russia and China are now strategic partners with convergent interests to challenge American global predominance. They have already given notice to this effect in Central Asia.
What does all this portend to the United States? The signs are ominous and the United States would be well advised to take notice of all this. Most importantly, Russia and China will increasingly challenge the United States in East Asia , Central Asia and West Asia--- all strategic to American national security interests. The United States will increasingly face counter-pressure points from both of these in different parts of the world.
In such a developing scenario the United States has a daunting task that by its unilateralist policies it does not create new enemies, retain old friends and take on board those nations it should and in the process learn to respect the strategic sensitivities of all of them. Can the United States do it? Hopefully the United States can shed its unilateralist impulses, but this only time will tell.
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