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Unformatted text preview: January 27, 2008 Waving Goodbye to Hegemony By PARAG KHANNA Turn on the TV today, and you could be forgiven for thinking its 1999. Democrats and Republicans are bickering about where and how to intervene, whether to do it alone or with allies and what kind of world America should lead. Democrats believe they can hit a reset button, and Republicans believe muscular moralism is the way to go. Its as if the first decade of the 21st century didnt happen and almost as if history itself doesnt happen. But the distribution of power in the world has fundamentally altered over the two presidential terms of George W. Bush , both because of his policies and, more significant, despite them. Maybe the best way to understand how quickly history happens is to look just a bit ahead. It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar . Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. Americas standing in the world remains in steady decline. Why? Werent we supposed to reconnect with the United Nations and reaffirm to the world that America can, and should, lead it to collective security and prosperity? Indeed, improvements to Americas image may or may not occur, but either way, they mean little. Condoleezza Rice has said America has no permanent enemies, but it has no permanent friends either. Many saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the symbols of a global American imperialism; in fact, they were signs of imperial overstretch. Every expenditure has weakened Americas armed forces, and each assertion of power has awakened resistance in the form of terrorist networks, insurgent groups and asymmetric weapons like suicide bombers. Americas unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order. That new global order has arrived, and there is precious little Clinton or McCain or Obama could do to resist its growth. The Geopolitical Marketplace...
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