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The author explains that is the case because it would lead to complete chaos (Ikenberry 2005). In addition a neo-imperial system of American rule is too expensive and burdened with inconsistencies, and based on an exaggerated accounting of American power (Ikenberry 2005). The asserts that Likewise, there are an array of incentives and impulses that will persuade the United States to try to organize unipolarity around multilateral rules and institutions. The United States may want to renegotiate rules and institutions in some global areas, but it ultimately will want to wield its power legitimately in a world of rules and institutions. It will also have incentives to build and strengthen regional and global institutions in preparation for a future 'after unipolarity'. The rising power of China, India, and other non-Western states presents a challenge to the old American-led order that will require new, expanded, and shared international governance arrangements (Ikenberry 2005)."
One may question why there is so much emphasis placed on America as it relates to international order and international relations in general. While it is true that much of this emphasis is due to the fact that America is a superpower, this emphasis is also present because America's approach to international relations is amongst the most studied and practiced form of international relations. In fact according to Assem and Volten (2006) the discipline of international relations was born and raised in the United States and if quantitative yardsticks were utilized the American approach to, International relations had accomplished a great deal especially when compared to the European approach to International relations to (Assem and Volten 2006).
In addition, the American approach to this discipline was thriving in many American institutions of higher learning and libraries were full of publications of American scholars concerning the discipline of international relations (Assem and Volten 2006). However in Europe, the amount of studying concerning to subject of IR was limited and the research output was also less significant than in America (Assem and Volten 2006). The development of the discipline of international relations has placed America in a position of authority as it relates to carrying out certain initiatives on an international level.
Overall, the research seems to indicate that from a traditional stand point -- certainly after the cold war -- the protocol for the international use of force has been to address international conflicts of problems multilaterally. However, in the wake of 9/11 the United States has acted unilaterally as it relates to the war in Iraq. By some standards this approach has been viewed as an attempt at imperialism and has been condemned. It has also propagated anti-American sentiment throughout the world. Indeed, America in many respects in now viewed as a super power with imperialistic intentions. Over the next few paragraphs we will explain the manner in which the role of becoming an imperial threat is connected to the belief that international order is becoming more liberal.
The next few paragraphs will discuss the liberalization of international order as it relates to a perceived imperial threat.
The role of an Imperial Threat
According to Litwak (2002) the global dominance of the United States is often compared to a modern day Roman Empire. Surpassing the Cold War rubric "superpower -- the term "hyper power" has entered our political language to communicate the scale of the United States' dominant international status (Litwak 2002). The author further asserts that also though American power has never been so significant it also has never been surrounded by so much uncertainty and confusion (Litwak 2002).
The author explains that the debate over current American policy usually encompasses a substantial range if issues. The most evident being the debate over unilateralism and multilateralism, which was evaluated previously in this discussion. However this author contends that the aforementioned debate isn't the cause of the confusion (Litwak 2002). Instead it is noted that the confusion can actually be found in the ever-present tension between what the author describes as America's twin identities (Litwak 2002). This is a duality that was first described by the political theorist Raymond Aron in his book the Imperial Republic (Litwak 2002). Aron describes America as an "imperial power dominating and maintaining an international order whose key institutions and governing norms bear an indelibly American stamp. At the same time, it's a "republic" -- that is to say, a sovereign state existing within a system of sovereign states equal under international law (Aron 1973; Litwak 2002)."
In addition the author explains that the conflict that comes about as a result of this duality has real-life consequences as it relates to international order (Litwak 2002). For instance should America respond to genocide or other forms of internal instability if there is no American interest in the region (Litwak 2002)? Or should the county act unilaterally as it relates to confronting rogue state militarily (Litwak 2002). The author asserts that liberal thinkers including Kant believed that the primary way to determine these answers would depend upon the internal organization of states (Litwak 2002). The author asserts that such a belief system would substantiate the claim that international peace can be tenable through the global propagation of democratic political systems. Indeed former President Bill Clinton has stated that "Democracies don't attack each other (Litwak 2002)."
On the other hand, realist thinkers seem to believe that peace does not come as a result of the domestic structures of states but rather from a consistent and fair distribution of power among the states (Litwak 2002). The author further explains that the contrasting views of liberalism and realism are apparent in the foreign policy initiatives that have been developed in the United States (Litwak 2002). For instance, during the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon and national security adviser Harry Kissinger could not maintain domestic support in American for a realpolitik foreign policy that was separate and apart from foundational American values that support democracy and human rights (Litwak 2002).
In addition, President Jimmy Carter was faced with the opposite problem, when liberal idealism ran up against the power realities of an increasingly assertive Soviet Union (Litwak 2002). Also the international institutional structure developed following World War II was reflective of both liberal and realist philosophy. The economic agreements that emerged as a result of Bretton Woods and the Marshall Plan the United States imagined an extended geographic zone of democratic, free-market states whose nucleus would be Western
Europe, North America, and Japan (Litwak 2002).
Also the new institutions in the system, which were resolutely grounded in a liberal notion of international order, became the keystone of the current approach to international order (Litwak 2002). These institutions were accompanied by an equally significant security alliance system that commenced with the development of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (Litwak 2002). In addition the institutions that were a part of the security alliance were shaped by the realist tradition to concentrate on the overriding test of the postwar era which was the containing of an expansionist Soviet Union (Litwak 2002). The author further asserts that Writing under the pseudonym X, American diplomat George Kennan elaborated the containment doctrine in a classic article in Foreign Affairs in 1947. He viewed the West's efforts to balance Soviet power as essentially a long-term holding operation until the internal contradictions of the communist society led to its "break-up" or "mellowing." As the Cold War unfolded, successive American administrations defined U.S. interests beyond Europe and Japan (and most significantly in the Third World) in terms of a global competition with the Soviet Union (Litwak 2002)."
As it relates more specifically to a more liberal international order emerging in the world, it is apparent that factors such as free trade and democracy are inherently liberal (Ikenberry 2005).
As such, as the world begins to embrace free trade and democracy, the international order will more likely than not become increasingly more liberal (Ikenberry 2005). Many scholars believe that the increased liberalism will emerge as a result of America becoming an imperial ruler. In fact Ferguson (2002) asserted that America already has an informal empire that is similar to the British empire. The writer also asserts that this American liberalism should be embraced as it relates to international order. Ferguson (2002) asserts that because the United States provides public goods, security, and order, and because these elements are missing in some areas of the world, a liberal international order perpetuate by the United States may be beneficial to the world (Ikenberry 2005).
On the other hand, many scholars also assert that an American Empire could be destructive, exploitive and lead to international instability (Ikenberry 2005). The article points out that over that last ten years America's military has become more consolidated because America desires international imperial rule (Ikenberry 2005). In fact the author refers to America as a military juggernaut that only desires to dominate the world (Ikenberry 2005). Still others assert that…[continue]
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