Nor were they simply missions of US hubris and altruism aiming to bring democratization, freedom and justice to Afghans and Iraqis as espoused by both the Bush and Obama Administrations (Harris, 2008, p. The protracted occupations represented an exercise of extensive formal control over Iraq and Afghanistan; however, the US did so at great human and economic cost, estimated at $4.4 trillion and counting (Chomsky, 2011).
If there were economic or strategic gains to be made in Afghanistan and Iraq then the current volatility witnessed in these countries suggests that any further opportunities have since been extinguished.
However, as will be argued throughout this essay, US hegemony has been occasioned by a mixture of objectives, not always of an imperialist nature.
The end of the Cold War presented the US with a preponderant military standing that could no longer be challenged by the erstwhile security threat of the Soviet Union (Chomsky, 2011).
Nevertheless, the US military is a global entity and NATO/Europe is not its sole focus currently.
The US has key alliances and vested interests on the Pacific Rim.According to Richard Lebow & Robert Kelly (2001), “hegemony” is defined as legitimated leadership (p. Hegemony also represents “political control” and requires a “combination of legitimacy and self-interest; rule based on sheer force …, threat of force”, and the acquiescence of allies and subject states” (Lebow & Kelly, 2001, p. This definition thus asserts that control, coercion and the acquiescence of other nation-states, be it explicit or otherwise, are central facets of US global leadership and power.Accordingly, US Hegemony is legitimized and ultimately defended by military, cultural, political and economic forms of control and influences (Walt, 2006, p.229-232).European partner nations within NATO are less willing to commit necessary resources to keep NATO viable as a multilateral organization dedicated to Europe’s defence and the broader stability of the West’s interests.Moreover, influential European members find themselves compromised by their energy dependency on Russia and by the logistics by which these resources come (Lewis & Roberts, 2014).A downward trend in both US prestige (particularly offset by China) and economic power, combined with unfolding modern geopolitical challenges, seems to be forcing the current Obama Administration to realign US foreign policy to better suit domestic priorities.Furthermore, the protracted US military occupation of Afghanistan has weakened US hegemony and undermined multilateral confidence in the US, to a certain degree, among the international community.The failures of these military incursions continue to affect the US within the diplomatic arena, particularly in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where the rise of China and Russia is continually and deliberately contravening US agenda (as the US periodically does with China and Russia, respectively).With these contemporary challenges in mind, this essay will define key terms and set the time parameters for investigation and examine military, political, cultural and economic forces that attempt to preserve modern US hegemony to varying degrees of success.But does US hegemony necessarily take the form of US imperialism?To be an imperial power is to “exercise extensive formal control over territories and peoples beyond its own borders.” (Watts, 2011) For Paul Schroeder (2009), imperial ambition is inextricably linked with empire-building insofar as “the essence of empire lies in the possession and exercise of political control over a foreign community” (p. It is persuasive that the US does exercise informal control beyond its borders.