The recent past has seen a loss of international prestige and domestic inadequacies in the United States of America. This has led to a number of analysts, scholars, and other scholars arguing that the decline of the U.S. as a global power is eminent. Some of these assumptions are aligned with the Hegemonic Stability Theory (HST), which posits that world leadership is cyclic. This is interpreted to mean that the United States, which is the reigning world leader, could soon be supplanted by a new power. In the last two decades, scholars, policymakers, and military thinkers alike, have been keenly analysing the rapid rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Understandably, some are wary about the possible emergence of China as a world power. Thus, while American primacy seems to be eroding, global power seems to be shifting from the west to the “rising rest”. Asian economies are ascending steadily while the west is fixed in an economic rut.
Many experts have, in fact, suggested that China is positioning itself to replace the United States as a global hegemon. This view appears plausible given China’s formidable military build-up and impressive economic growth. Thus, the central question is whether the United States will lead the 21st-century world. A small, but a growing number of futurists argue that the US hegemonic demise is inevitable. While their arguments are persuasive, they forget that the rising powers such as China face several internal challenges that could seriously curtail national growth and their chances of succeeding the United States.
There is no doubt that the end is near for the long era of Western hegemony. However, the U.S. predominance is undiminished and the United State is poised to sit atop the global hierarchy for the indeterminate future. For one, the US military strength is yet to be surpassed by that of any country and its global economic output remains stable. Among the emerging powers, including China, India, Brazil, and Turkey, only China has the potential to compromise the interest of the Unites States. The others will either remain on the periphery geopolitics or align themselves with the U.S. China, the only threat at the moment and in the near future, lacks viability. The twist is that while the U.S. might be facing a decline in its global predominance, ironically, the rise of China is largely reliant on the stability of the American market.
Besides, there is not theoretical support for the anticipated Chinese hegemony, making it unfeasible in practical terms. The challenge is that unlike the emerging economies, the U.S. uses liberalism to maintain its hegemony. Liberalism advocates for the inevitability of human progress, scientific rationality, and freedom, something not even China is close to providing. It emphasises limitations on the powers of the state, democracy, individual rights, and constitutionalism (Burchill, et al., 2005). Liberalism is markedly Western and the U.S. functions as the cradle and midpoint of liberal internationalism. No country is likely to overtake the U.S. in this role; thus, despite its possible hegemonic decline, America is still leading the 21st-century world.
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