Newsie Events Media: #Opinion
Hegemony is not achieved only by Military and economic might. Instead of domination by force, a hegemon dominates by generating a level of consent and Goodwill from among the lesser nations. America has enjoyed this for many decades until the last decade. This is as a result of foreign policy failures widely publicised all thanks to the advent of social media and internet.
Before Afghanistan, there was Iraq and Libya. Before Iraq and Libya, there was Vietnam but there wasn’t much media exposition on the failure of Vietnam because the west which America sits at its head controlled the international media. Thus, the discussion on the failure in Vietnam was limited perhaps to intellectual and academic circles as opposed to what we have today. If Vietnam had happened in this digital age, America would have received 50 times the backlash it received which will further undermine their credibility. They didn’t learn from Vietnam, they went ahead to commit other errors.
The chaos they left in Iraq and Libya and the role an open system of information dissemination has played in exposing the weakness in even America’s own domestic affairs has created a large band of anti-American and anti-western thinkers who are very voracious in challenging American led western interventionism. This campaign has been very successful to an extent that more than ever, people/nations are opposed or hinting opposition to any possible involvement of America in their local affairs to avoid being the next Libya or the next Iraq. Nowadays America and the west is getting the “Stay-Away-From-Us” vibes from nations around the world. America has lost the love it once enjoyed and this is a big blow to its posturing in the international system.
Much of America’s World Policing has been built on the ideas of spreading democratization and western values. This was successful because liberal democracy and western values was widely accepted as higher values by majority of the world’s population but not anymore. People/nations are begining to see the hypocrisy in westernization and the flaws therein. Thanks to the internet, the image of America and the west as a perfect or near perfect society has been punctured. America’s weakness has been exposed with the latest being the invasion of the capitol early this year. The mentality now is “After all, these America happen in America too”. The Economist magazine reported that at a time much of the world’s aspiring immigrant wished to migrate to America because of the illusion of the perfect life America offers. But not anymore. Today America is not even among the top 3 destinations for immigrants in the world. People have realized the insanity in the American society as opposed to what they were made to believe and have discovered that there are other countries who would offer them a better life than they could ever get in America. Thanks to a globalized media.
The American led invasion of Iraq was a failure. The narrative that lies were peddled against the Saddam’s government has gained traction. Iraq which was better before America invaded and so was Libya. The existential conditions prevalent in Libya in today as opposed to what it was has attracted more rebuffs and contempt for Washington. There is no stable democracy in Iraq, neither is there in Libya. Instead the reverse is the case. The fall of Libya worsened insurgency in Africa and even Obama had come out publicly to declare the Libyan mission his biggest foreign policy failure. When we look at these things, you would understand why America and western expansionism is being resisted more than ever.
America lost that moral authority and hence the challenge to its world’s policing role.
American mission in Afghanistan is another international failure. 20 years war in Afghanistan that ended the same way it started is not good PR for the American image. They had shot themselves on the foot by convincing the world to think of Taliban as a terrorist group only to withdraw for the same terrorist group to take over Afghanistan in a manner that looked like abandoning the people of Afghanistan and sending the impression that America cannot be trusted. The comeback of the Taliban has also shown again that American interests can be fought and surmounted. This shows weakness. The manner with which the Taliban took over makes America look weak. The support the taliban got from the locals which was instrumental to its victory also shown that people are fed up with America and the West’s desire to impose their way of life on them. The narrative that America cannot deceive the Taliban after 20 years shows weakness. The implications of this is that it is going to inspire future resistance to American occupation and make it difficult for America to want to assert itself and wishes on another clime if it ever wishes to. Even among its allies, there is going to be a second thought in joining America in any of these wars in the future.
The scenes in Afghanistan of the hasty evacuation of US officials and the abandoning of local interpreters who worked with the American mission is a strong case of unreliability. India, one of America’s biggest allies in that region has been left with a mess as it struggles to contend and navigate through the realities of having a Taliban government that is heavily tied to Pakistan ( India biggest rival) in control of areas that poses a direct threat to India’s security. The Israelis, one of US strongest allies are reinforcing the argument that America cannot be trusted. There is now growing calls in South Korea of the need for Seoul to look beyond the US or grabble with the possibility of getting the Afghan treatment. Japan that has lived with the US Military occupation has began to mull about a future without the US. These are indication that there has been a hit in its alliances and there will be changes in the nature of commitment US enjoy from her allies.
The Russian embassy in Afghanistan is still open. The Chinese embassy is still open. The Embassy of the so called most powerful country on Earth is closed due to fear of being attacked by a militant group. The way soldiers scampered away with the US flag from the embassy when the Taliban took over Kabul is very dishonorable and a piss on Washington’s face. The signal the Taliban has helped sent to the rest of the world in so doing is that there’s nothing American can do to them and perhaps more importantly, they are not afraid of whatever America’s might is. Put differently, it is an analogy of walking up to a big man and giving him a slap on his face. A case of the US being underrated.
The rise of China has contributed to the decline of the US. China’s mode of engagement with the rest of the world has been more economic than political. It has refrained from policing others and respected the rights of others to run their countries their way. It is not concerned about exporting any of it’s values rather it has positioned itself as a partner and not a police. For instance, in Africa, a continent the US thinks needs democracy and western values, China is offering money for economic development. China’s global economic initiatives are even attracting European interests that has seen the Asian giant begin to penetrate its influence in Europe. In Asia and particularly the middle east, China is offering the money while staying away from internal affairs. This is an approach nations are appearing to prefer. While the US is losing the consent and Goodwill it once enjoyed, China is gaining same. One of US potent weapons in coercing smaller nations to submission is economic sanctions. China as an economic powerhouse has refused to team up with the US in fulfilling the mandate of strangling US enemies economically. In so doing, they have successfully grown and positioned themselves as an alternative. Nations worry less about the fears of US sanctions because in China, there is a viable alternative. This is why nations like Iran have been defiant and even waxed stronger in the face of US clamp down. The Taliban and any group that wishes to antagonize the US only needs to align with China. This new reality in the international system has emboldened smaller nations who aspire to resist US incursions in future.
Last year, one of the biggest diplomatic blows to the US hegemonic era was let out when majority of the nations in the UN blatantly opposed US direction in the Israel-Palestine conflict including some of US biggest allies who either voted NO or absented themselves. This shows that a post-US international system has long began.
The US economy might still be the strongest in the world. The US military might still be the most powerful military in the world. It takes more than that to be a hegemon. Influence and hegemony cannot be achieved without commanding fear and respect. The US has lost these two. It is much more weaker in the international system than it has ever been. The end of the pax-America era has long began.
Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via twitter.com/caleb_onyeabor
Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of NEWSIEEVENTS.
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