Goodbye, Pax Americana
By 2030, the US will no longer be the global hegemonic power, according to the US National Intelligence Council.
In a report called Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, the office of the Director of National Intelligence concludes that, “In terms of the indices of overall power – GDP, population size, military spending and technological investment – Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined.” And “with the rapid rise of other countries, the ‘unipolar moment’ is over and Pax Americana—the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945—is fast winding down.”
Most notably since the end of WWII, the US has been pursuing global dominance through force and coercion. This project got a boost with the end of the Cold War – that so-called unipolar moment – in which the one great power rival Washington faced abruptly fell apart. The geo-political implications of this prompted euphoria among crafters of US foreign policy. In 1992, the Defense Department circulated what came to be known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, after then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz. “America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era,” the New York Times reported, “will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union.” America’s mission, read the DoD document, would be “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”
The primary consequence of unrivaled power and dominance on the world stage is that the US could perpetrate savagery on other states and peoples with hardly any accountability or threat of retaliation. It is comparable to what happens when an authoritarian gains unquestioned power over a single country: no checks or balances, no responsibility for grave transgressions, etc.
Now, because of a mixture of hubris, profligacy, emerging economies, and the rise of non-state actors, “the post-war US approach to strategy is rapidly becoming insolvent and unsustainable,” concluded a recent CSIS report. In some ways, Washington is taking this news kicking and screaming, desperately boosting US military presence in the Middle East and Asia. But “If Washington continues to cling to its existing role on the premise that the international order depends upon it, the result will be increasing resistance, economic ruin, and strategic failure,” according to CSIS.