How did it happen that China was able to “gain” that hegemonic position.

Posted: March 21st, 2022

Is the United States in a hegemonic decline? In the subject line post “yes” or “no” and your name. It’s difficult to argue absolutely either way but do your best. No “middle of the road” answers allowed! Alternative question: Pretend that you awoke one morning and China was the dominant power in the world. Everyone around the globe was speaking Chinese to some degree, and American foreign policy could not operate independently anymore – the US always had to keep an eye on what might meet with China’s disapproval. Compare that state of affairs with today. Explain what happened and why. How did it happen that China was able to “gain” that hegemonic position. For a definition of “hegemony,” see the web source Schmidt argues that two definitions of hegemony work together as one: “The first is the notion that hegemony entails overwhelming or preponderant material power. The second is the idea that hegemony involves the exercise of some form of leadership, including domination, over others” (Schmidt 2018). Commonly, in the IR scholarship, hegemony means an overwhelming preponderance of power – military, economic, political, cultural. There have been 5 hegemonic periods in modern history: Spain and Portugal in the 16th century; the Netherlands in the 17th century; Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the US in the 20th and 21st centuries. Each hegemonic period ended with a global war (the Thirty Years’ War, the Wars of Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, and World Wars I and II). Most long-cycle theorists argue that 100 years is about the length of hegemony in the modern era. It takes a fundamental shift to make things last longer than 100 years. The British were able to achieve it because they industrialized fully in the 19th century – as well as carved up Africa and used India for their natural resources. US hegemony really did not begin until after 1945, although the US had positioned itself financially to take over the lead economic role from the British during and after World War I. It was that “leadership” part of Schmidt’s definition that made the difference for US hegemony. Provide an example from a current event to illustrate your answer. Remember to read the materials in Week 2 Contents to Include those ideas in your discussions. (The assigned journal articles are best to use for support.) Also, feel free to include an extra link to a website or article to share with your classmates in follow-ups to support your views. Hints for discussions: No word requirement. Citations are not required. Need three follow-ups to classmates. Please show that you are keeping up with the Reading and Resources by discussing the authors and their ideas. Mention their names so that your classmates will recognize them.

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