Monday, April 12, 2010

The U.S. is still the top dog

Foreign Policy is running an article that I think illustrates American preeminence in the international community. Looking at the list of the 40+ countries and what they want from the United States, it is hard to believe speculation that United States has suffered from a loss of stature within the international community.

My logic (and it may be flawed), is that if the United States was viewed by other states as weaker and not a useful partner (or means) in pursuit of their goals, then fewer countries would be in attendance. Moreover, one wouldn't see the diversity of "wants" when the foreign dignitaries get their time with American officials. Compare this to when foreign officials go to China, economics tends to be the overriding topic of discussion.

However, my logic applies as long as the current international system remains in place. Now how long that will be is a topic of frequent debate within political science, meaning that there is no firm answer. The problem in defining a specific period of time in which another state (read China) could be the dominant power within an international system is that what we know today is more defined than ever before in history. In no time prior to post-WWII has the international community had the breadth and depth of cooperation it has today. One only needs to look at the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, and the G20 to gain a sense of the interdependency. The United States lies at the heart of each of those bodies (the G20 less so than the other 3). For China to edge the United States out of its supremacy would be no small feat and would require lots of time (50+ years). It could be even longer if the international community does not share the same values of China.

So for those of you who doubt American influence, sorry to pop your bubble of depression (or joy depending on your feelings of American supremacy). The world still revolves around the U.S.

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