CHARLOTTE, NC March 25, 2014 – It is beginning to look as though there is a “new world order” on the horizon. It is happening right before our eyes, yet somehow we are not paying attention.
Since the end of World War II, American hegemony has played a vital role in global affairs. Now that strength seems to be diminishing on a daily basis. Chalk it up to any number of things including weak foreign policy decisions, disinterested and inexperienced leadership, apathy, cultural unawareness or a multitude of other nebulas factors, the reality is the United States just ain’t what it used to be.
Call that treasonous if you like, but burying our heads in the sand because we rebel against the idea of not being number one will not change the facts that are staring us in the face.
“Hegemony” is a good word. We don’t use it much but every American understands its meaning and, more importantly, its significance. Simply put, “hegemony” is the implied dominance by one government over others through strength, power and the threat of force. Americans have long enjoyed that role in the international arena because we have always been a force for good against tyranny.
Now that strength is fading. Sampson’s hair has been cut, and we do not like the results. One simple example that has been in the news recently is the proposal to relinquish control of the internet to the international community. Perhaps there are better methods of monitoring the net, but until it can be demonstrated that someone else can improve upon it, why give up some of our strength for no practical purpose or outcome?
Now that the Malaysian jetliner story is sinking into the Indian Ocean, media pundits have turned their speculation to the prospects of a new Cold War as Vladimir Putin flexes his muscle in Ukraine and the Crimea. The problem is that the world is vastly different now than it was in the good old Cold War days.
While Putin has left no doubt about his leadership skills, he must still contend with the fact that he has little or no influence beyond his own Russian territory.
Economically, Western Europe gets nearly a third of its energy from Russia, which makes them skittish about the prospects of cutting off their supplies by angering Mr. Putin.
And then there is that American hegemony, which, thanks to the mishandling of Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Israel and Palestine, no longer has much clout on the international stage.
Meanwhile, as the big guns bicker among themselves, the Middle East continues to fester like an infected would that will not go heal. Though most Americans have yet to figure out what the tangled mish-mash of Obamacare is all about, one thing we do know is that it is definitely a mess.
Transport the healthcare debacle to the global arena and American foreign policy is every bit as confusing as Obamacare. Perhaps even more. Certainly it is more dangerous because of the various rogue regimes and cultural factors that must be dealt with in the process.
What is so incongruous about it all is that the Obama administration does not appear to have learned anything after five plus years in office. Barack Obama used to speak of “teachable moments.” Well he has had plenty of those learning experiences during his presidency. So how can he continue to be so naïve about foreign affairs?
Both Breitbart News and Jewish Week have recently reported the belief that Israeli visa requests are being denied because of Israel’s stance against John Kerry’s efforts for peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Meanwhile, another report says that requirements for visas from applicants in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Somalia are increasing. The U.S. State Department denies the claims but given the vindictiveness of Barack Obama’s past, such as the IRS scandal et al, how can anyone believe what the government says?
Putin shows leadership, but has no clout. Obama speaks loudly and carries a small stick. Western Europe is vulnerable and trapped. The Middle East is on fire and hovering like vultures over carrion.
It’s a recipe for cooking up something that does not sound appealing.
Remember the word, “hegemony.” It used to stand for something important in our country because it represented leadership through strength. Hegemony is rapidly yielding to “acrimony” instead, and that is a bitter pill that is anathema to the American spirit
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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