The Empire Has to Adjust its Policies
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Quoted by Strategic Culture, Zhang Jiadong, researcher and professor at the Center for American Studies at the Chinese University of Fudan, considers that the United States is learning to cope with its new status through a policy change.
After Donald Trump became President, the internal and foreign policy of he United States has experienced a dramatic turn.
Firstly, Washington has begun to look more closely at its internal affairs promoting the motto “America First” countering its previous policy and its own hegemonic agenda with an emphasis on sovereignty, reciprocity and nationalism.
Secondly, its openness and inclusion are gradually changing towards closedness and narrowness. (Regarding its treaties with China, U.S. behavior has become narrower regarding immigration and the treatment of Chinese expatriates).
Thirdly, Washington has gone from being a promoter of its version of justice in the abstract, to the defense of its interests.
There are those who believe that the United States has always been this way and what has marked the difference is the frankness of its new president. Others think that this is a gradual adjustment and Washington will return to the level of openness and inclusion it has always had.
When World War II ended, the United States was an integral leader. Its GDP represented more than 50 % of the world total, and its manufacturing production was between 60 and 70 % of this.
Militarily, it was stronger than all the other countries put together.
As the scientific and academic elites fled to the United States to seek asylum during the war, the country became –and remains being so– the scientific and academic center of the world.
From a financial point of view, the world’s main financial resources were in the in the hands of the United States.
The United States was considered the leader and liberator of the free world, despite the fact that it was the last important country to join the allied forces in the Second World War to defeat fascism.
Because of this, the U.S. was able to establish a huge hegemonic system. Although the Soviet Union had the capacity to challenge the United States in certain fields, such as the military, the U.S. emerged as the most powerful country in the world in terms of comprehensive national strength.
In the post-Cold War world, the political power of The United States reached its peak after winning the first Gulf War.
The United States almost completely dominated the world under the conditions of a uni-polar world order.
However, everything began to decline after the U.S. suffered serious economic and security setbacks.
The September 11, 2001 attacks showed that their security was not absolute. The 2007 mortgage financial crisis revealed its economic vulnerability, and the 2008 global financial crisis demonstrated that the United States needed outside support too.
Due to changes in the world order and its international stature, some U.S. policies that were effective in the past ceased to function. Trade used to be an activity by means of which Washington influenced the domestic and international policies of many countries.
Before China entered the WTO, the US used unilateral most-favored-nation treatment as a lever to influence some of the internal and external policies of China. It can no longer do so.
In the recent trade dispute between China and the U.S., some important steps taken by the U.S. have no longer been allowed by the WTO.
The influence of the United States on the trade of other countries has also shown signs of weakening.
Even in defense, its relative influence has been reduced, and more and more countries are increasingly developing their own sea and air defense capabilities.
During a long period after the Second World War, the United States had held the maritime hegemony. Now, the maritime forces of Asian countries such as China, Japan and India have been strengthened and more coastal States claim rights to their waters under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Although the United States sea and air forces have not yet been expelled, their freedom to operate out of its territorial waters and airspace has decreased.
With its leadership eroded, the United States has begun to change the nature of its policies and is trying to compensate for its diminished influence through adjustment, harassment and intimidation.
To avoid direct strategic confrontation with Washington some countries make concessions. “But, in the long run, the relations of the US with other countries, including China, will return to the logic of international relations”, according to the prediction of Chinese researcher and professor Zhang Jiadong..
May 6, 2019.
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