If you are a student of history, you know that the most stable times in international and domestic politics are those times when an effective hierarchy of rule is stable. Transitional periods are the worst. Even a harsh and cruel government, if it were stable, can produce tolerable results domestically and internationally.
Hegemony is national dominance, and there is no doubt that America has been in a position of international hegemony for quite some time—at least since WWII. Our financial success, military scope and power, and hard-nosed diplomacy made us an uncontestable international force. And the world has been largely stable in that hierarchy for decades. Until recently.
We are experiencing a transition of power. There is a movement away from American hegemony. The American dollar is unstable, the American military is overstretched, and American diplomacy has no leverage.
A perfect example is the Iran nuclear “enrichment” program. Iran is basically getting its way, and what’s worse, it knows it’s getting its way. Iranian pride protestors hold up signs of Obama and our diplomats being punched and kicked in the face by Iranian hands and feet next to these words (translated into bad English of course): “This is THE NATION DEMANDS government!”
Meaning that Iran is making demands, and America will bend over backwards—because we don’t have the power to do otherwise. Our hegemony is in its twilight. I don’t know who will gain hegemony in our place. It may be that there are many poles of power in the new international order. But there is no doubt that the next fifteen or twenty years is going to be quite bumpy.
The United States had the opportunity to support and encourage a much longer period of international peace and order. But we squandered our opportunity. We have become a corrupt and decadent empire like so many empires that have fallen before us.