While initially referring to the political dominance of certain ancient Greek city-states over their neighbors, the term has come to be used in a variety of other contexts, in particular Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramscis theory of cultural hegemony. The term is often mistakenly used to suggest brute power or dominance, when it is better defined as emphasizing how control is achieved through consensus not force. And further more it is a leading or paramount power great power, major power, superpower, world power, and power and is a state powerful enough to influence events throughout the world.
Being a hegemon is a very great deal because states are as stated previously, the one who dominates the whole world. From the British reign to the cold war between US and USSR, the raise to hegemony had a great impact on what country today dominates which is the United States of America. During the cold war clearly, it was defined what a hegemony is a power that is based on the military capabilities which were shown by the US.
However the post cold war era has changed its perception on power which was clearly demonstrated by peace talks, conferences and convention and the power of United states to influence has weaken and as everyone says everything is bound to fall like empires, however strong or weak, are bound to decline and fall. Its what history told us and what the current situation shows us. One might argue that this couldnt be the case. Every empire had its own time therefore, it had different situations.
One cannot thoroughly compare one another if they are different in nature already. And this is the point. Every empire had its own time, situation, sets of events, people and all the other elements that were sometimes almost the same from the other empires but mostly vastly different. So is there a point to compare? This is where the discussion starts. Why does the decline of empires have common streaks of trait? What are the actions that might lead to the fall? Are there factors that might trigger this sort of trend amongst empires?
Is there a fashion of the decline of empires? And if there is, are there any exceptions to this? These are the questions we seek to give answer to. United States of America (US) has been the sole hegemon in decades. But there are evidences that suggest or imply that US are on its down fall. One of which is the book named the European superpower. The book by John McCormick is all about Europe being the new superpower. McCormick based his ideas on the economic, political and cultural status of Europe.
It has become a routine for everyone that the United States of America is the worlds last remaining superpower. The nature of power has developed since the Cold War-driven meaning of superpower evolved. Military power is no longer essential to great power; the author argues that control of the means of production is more important than control of the means of destruction, and contrasts the threatening hard power of the United States with the opportunities offered by the soft power wielded by the European Union.
McCormick also argues that the reason why Europe is a superpower is because the combination of civilian and military instruments in a unique and unprecedented is giving more advantages over the US in a world in which, as Iraq has shown, hard power has clear limits and soft power backed by tangible means is a commodity of growing significance. The European Union (EU) global role is the doubt of most of the current assessments of unipolarity in world politics and American empire.
McCormick is into the idea that the global economy and the non military actions against security threats in particular terrorism are more likely to work because they did good in encouraging and giving opportunities to get others to understand to their point of view. The author is against the United States in sending troops and asking questions later. McCormick is also against on the basis of neocon thinking. He argues that there has been too much squabbling between Europeans over Iraq and also being restless on the issue over the Balkans.
Any person who mocks the Europeans as a bunch of, welfarist appeasers and left wing does not know the fact the European Union has quietly taken the leadership on a whole range of issues. The book points out that United States will eventually become one union with Canada and Mexico. There is a changing base of power and influence in the 21st century according to McCormick. The period of military power has ended and the influence in the period of globalization is best attained through the utilization of diplomacy, stipulation of an economic opportunity and political gain and also the exercise of soft power.
McCormick states that there is a post-modern bipolar world order with the United States as one pole that is declining and the other pole is the European Union that is rising. United States is squandering its power over the problem in Iraq, and their economic model, values, and approach to diplomacy and war are inappropriate in todays post-modern world. Furthermore, The European Union has been influential in terms of policies, goals and promoting values that adhere to other states that through coercion and aggression cannot do.
In this book, it shows that the European Union is not only a superpower but also an ideal in their exercise of influence in the post-modern international system. U. S credibility continuously weakens because their values, goals and priorities are progressively at different with other countries. In the first chapters of the book, the survey of the historic translations is surveyed and also it illustrates the aide of the United States in the growth of the European Union.
In addition there is a new approach which is the by basing its point of view on a sound international relations theory and more key arguments that is endless in Europe, America, and the transatlantic relationship since the Iraq war. According to McCormick superpower is never clearly defined, although it is implicitly clear that the EU is a superpower because power is not exercised only through hard means, that is, military, power, but as much through soft means, that is, economics, values, etc.
In fact on page 161 ,it stated that the European superpower to step into the breach, thereby creating a new bipolar international order which is opposing to the idea of multipolar world and although there is soft power and post-modern world as what McCormick constantly refers to as a balance of power/zero-sum game in the of world politics; for example In economic terms, at least, we are now clearly living in a bipolar world,(which the author ignores economic interdependence). In the last parts of the book then there are some challenging arguments about what Europe represents in the world today.
There is a conclusion that At no time since it became a superpower has the United States been faced with so compelling a set of alternatives as it does today from Europe. Europe not only offers the world a different way of managing international threats, but it can limit US influence in the international community. This book that states clearly that the US is at their fall and Europe is at its rise can be related to civilizations. To further explain lets look in the case of the Mesopotamian civilization.
It all started around 4000 B. C, the first inhabitants of Mesopotamia settled on its southern portion. These tribesmen are called the Sumerians. The Sumerians established independent city- states, each ruled by a priest- king. They cultivated the fertile land and tamed the floods of the Twin Rivers by constructing canals and dikes as drainage to irrigate their farms. Also, during 3500 B. C, they invented writing to keep track on their records. Their writing was called cuneiform. In this period, mans historic period began. Aside from writing, Sumerians also invented the plow and the wheel.
They construct the first cities, the first schools and temples, and write the first books in history, poetry, epics, fables and proverbs. The Akkadians came and built the Akkadian Empire, which is considered as the worlds first Empire. The Akkadians migrated to Mesopotamia and founded the city- state of Akkad and conquered the Sumerian states. Toward the end of 2000 B. C, the Amorites, a Semitic people from Syria invaded Mesopotamia and conquered the land. Their leader Sumuabum became the first leader of the kingdom Babylonia.
One of his descendants, Hammurabi extended Babylonia to a stretch. During Hammurabis reign, Babylonia attained the peak of its splendor. His greatest achievement was the promulgation of a written law code in 1750 B. C. Because of this, the historians called him the lawgiver of Babylonia. The Hammurabi Code was inscribed on a black stone eight feet high. It consists of 285 laws pertaining to family relations, property rights, marriage, divorce, adaptation of children and etc. Such laws are an eye for an eye and a life for a life.
Babylonian society was divided into three social classes which are the nobles, the freemen and the slaves. Their economic life was Farming. It was the chief industry of Ancient Babylonia. Many Babylonians engaged in business and trade. They transported their goods between cities and villages on donkeys and camels. Their religion is that ancient Babylonians worshipped as many as 6, 500 gods. Their writing and literature had a system of writing called cuneiform which they borrowed from the Sumerians. They wrote on soft clay tablets with a sharp stylus as pen.
These clay tablets were baked in ovens to make them hard like bricks. The greatest architectural achievement of Babylonia was Ziggurat. On top of a Ziggurat was a small shrine for the god, to whom religious rites were offered. The Babylonians excelled in mathematics. Some of their inventions are the sexagesimal system, division of a circle into 360 degrees, division of hours into minutes and minutes to seconds but astronomy and astrology made the Babylonians famous. After learning the use of iron from the Hittites, the Assyrians revolutionized the art of warfare.
Because of their superior armaments, advanced military tactics and fierce courage, the Assyrians became the best warriors in Asia during their time. In 1115 B. C Assyrian Empire was established right after they conquered Babylonia, Phoenicia and Syria. It was founded by Tiglath- Pileser I. The height of Assyrian power was reached during the reign of Tiglath- Pileser III, a military genius who never lost a single battle. One of Tiglath- Pileser successor transferred Assyrias capital to Nineveh. During the reign of Ashurbanipal, Assyria began to decline. In 612 B. C, Nineveh was attacked by Chaldean- Medes Armies that soon made the Assyrian Empire collapse.
The Chaldean Empire reached its height during the reign of Nabopolassars son Nebuchadnezzar. After Nebuchadnezzar death, the empire soon disintegrated. The last Chaldean ruler, Nabonidus neglected the affairs of state for he is more interested in archaeological studies. Babylon was surrendered without a fight to Persian Invaders. The price people paid for living in settled cities was the development of a territorial concept that required violence and war to keep ones neighbors away.
Since then, finding new and deadlier weapons has occupied the attention of the warrior class in every society of the world. To sum it up , civilizations rise and disappear due to there are new civilizations which are stronger and more credible and in terms of states. A state (take for example US) domination continues as long as it can sustain its credibility, influence and power and if ever it weakens another state will claim the hegemonic position (China, Russia, India).