The new rome

The USA is at the peak of power. But some string-pullers appear baffled as to what they are really supposed to do with it

In Empire, which was organized by sympathizers such as the "inevitable" Slavoj Zizek as the "Communist manifesto of our time" Michael Hardt and Toni Negri have long since concluded that the postmodern empire of data, networks, and real-time communication is not a "massacre" "no Rome" own more. "The shape of the world order and the place where power sits have changed." In the midst of the global network power structure that capital, technology, and migration flows are establishing "a new form of sovereignty", which would put an end to the old system of nation states as well as to the imperialism of the past. No state, not even the most powerful, can in the future boast of determining the parameters and guidelines of world politics alone and independently; and no power in the world can exercise control over the current global order.

The new rom

The "Empire" is a non-place

The new rule of the rivers, nets and bodies would thus be a "Non-place". As such "U-Topos" regulate it "not only human interactions", but strive for, "to rule directly over human nature". And because this "Empire" In the wake of the disappearance of spatial and temporal boundaries, international associations and institutions in particular gained increasing power and influence, such as the G-8 or supranational entities like the WTO, the WB or the IMF. That this long under command, communication control of the USA, is not mentioned.

It is time to write a new history.

George W. Bush

Claus Leggewie recently quoted this pas benevolently in an article for the newspaper Die Welt, citing it as evidence of the new will and growing courage for total critique of predatory capitalism. Like the Berkeley sociologist Manuel Castells, who recently published a mammoth three-volume work on the spirit of informalism, he, too, is a front to the idea that the new supranational network order of the .orgs, .coms and .nets a caput fe.

Asymmetry of power

This message does not seem to have reached the eyes and ears of American string-pullers. After the disintegration of the Soviet empire, the stagnation of the "Japanese challenge" and the economic boom of the last decade, the superiority of the United States has been immeasurably greater than that of the United States. The gap between them and the old world is growing day by day. Within a decade the "Unicolored" of the world political system became reality. According to Charles Krauthammer, a neoconservative columnist for the Washington Post, the country now faces the historic task of having this "unipolar moment", that fell into its lap after the end of the Cold War, into a "unipolar ara" to transform.

In Washington, around the Potomac, people are delighted, but obviously also very surprised and irritated by the rapid rise of the U.S. as the unchallenged leader and ruler of the world. Its leaders seem to be perplexed by this situation in world history and wonder what their country can do with this power and security policy and what role it wants to play in the world in the future.

This ambivalence of feeling informs and reflects, in any case, a study as exciting as it is remarkable, published in the latest ie of the "foreign affairs", the leading theoretical journal of the "Community of Global Thinkers", printed. These questions have been published by Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, two political scientists who teach at the Department of Government at Dartmouth College and who belong to the stormy wing of the Republican Party, which also includes Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Paul Wolfowitz, as well as Chief Counsel Richard Perle and Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. For some time now, he has been engaged in a fierce battle for the president’s heart with the Republican realists in the government, i.e., the faction that rallies around Secretary of State Colin Powell "pre-emptive actions" as a qualitatively new formula of U.S. foreign and security policy, which will have a prominent place in the new Bush doctrine.

For the time being, the concerns that Sam Huntington expressed before the turn of the millennium to all advocates of an "unpredictable economy" seem to have been swept off the table "lonely" or. "rogue superpower" The committee had tried to take note of the fact that the world’s problems can only be solved together and in cooperation with other states and partners (multilateralism). But after Nine-Eleven these arguments do not seem to convince anyone anymore. Since the bloody enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine, there has been a growing tendency in Washington to solve international problems single-handedly, i.e. without the time-consuming and protracted consultation of partners and allies. It is understandable. After all, the terrorist attack has hardly had a lasting impact on U.S. dominance in interstate commerce. And the counterattack and rapid success of the war in Afghanistan have strengthened rather than weakened its unique position in the nation-state system.

Analysis of power

This self-confidence is also evident in the article. Instead of flowery promises, it is dominated by cold empiricism. And instead of missionary zeal, the two analysts present a sober and unagitated analysis with many impressive facts, data and figures that once again demonstrate the unique and unchallenged power position of the U.S. in the world.

In the next year, the U.S. will probably spend more money on defense than the next 20 countries spend on their total armed forces. In addition to nuclear preponderance, a dominant air force and global naval power that enable the country to strike at any time and in multiple locations simultaneously, the country has state-of-the-art information and communications technologies to coordinate information over a battlefield with lightning speed and destroy distant targets with pinpoint accuracy. The country invests more than three times as much in military research and development as the next six powers combined.

Crowns may generally lie uneasy, but America’s does not.


Military strength is joined by economic strength. The U.S. economy alone generates twice as much as its fiercest rival, Japan. California alone is currently the world’s fifth-largest economy, ahead of France. The USA is now the world’s most popular location for foreign companies. More than a third of all direct investments go to the USA. Even if investments are currently faltering, profits are stagnating and accounting scandals are dampening economic optimism, this home-grown recession – unlike the Japanese catcalls of the 1990s – is accompanied by robust economic growth, so that in the worst case scenario, at most a return to the economic position of the early 1990s is to be expected. Moreover, the country is best positioned for globalization.

Technologically and ideologically, too, the United States is vastly superior to any conceivable rival. The amount the country spends on research and development alone is roughly equal to the combined budget of the seven richest countries. The country is home not only to the most prestigious universities, but also to the most Nobel Prize winners. By far the largest number of Nobel Prize winners also come from the USA. And while the talents of all countries queue up at the gates of the superpower to seek entry into the promised land, the youth outside the American territory are intoxicated with all the myths, fashions and lifestyles that the American cultural industries propagate for them.

A power of planetary scale

What is certainly new about this world political constellation is that the predominant position that the USA currently occupies among the other peoples and nations is spreading to all of them without exception "critical areas" (military, economic, technological, ideological), which predestine a power to superpower status. In none of the above-mentioned areas can a competitor be identified who could hold a candle to them. Never before has a single state united in itself such a powerfulness.

And what is certainly new is that this power encompasses the entire planet. Whereas the Pax Romana included only the Mediterranean, and the Pax Britannica at least had control over the global sea and trade routes, the Pax Americana, for the first time in history, scales planetary heights. The signature of a "planetary age", which, according to the inventor of geopolitics, Rudolf Kjellen, is the "ushering in the planetary epoch of humanity" is inevitably connected with the name of America. The planetary epoch – that is undoubtedly the American one.

A "new epoch"?

The question Brooks and Wohlforth are now seeking an answer to is whether this unprecedented hegemony the U.S. currently occupies will actually last. As history shows, every power, however much it has basked in the zenith of its success, has yet produced its own gravedigger. Napoleon and the Sun King fared no differently than the Habsburgs, Hitler or Stalin. And if we follow the coarse words of the theorists of empire, global capitalism also brings about its own downfall: the multiplicity of the landless, the nameless and the dispossessed.

But no matter how much the authors look around, there is no sign of a countervailing power on the horizon. Neither the EU nor Russia, China or Japan can be considered. If some are occupied with themselves in the long run with quarrels about agricultural expenditures, common will to defend themselves and the costs of eastward enlargement, the Eurasian powers suffer from the technological gap of all their neighbors "critical areas". Under these circumstances, none of them, the authors are sure, will risk making an enemy of the USA. Thus, within a few years, a historical trend would have been brought to a standstill and reversed. The story had actually come to its end. A new era would have dawned, one that would tell of the glory and splendor, the fame and the eternal rule of a single nation.

Nye hegemons

Brooks and Wohlforth therefore make a joke of exploring all conceivable alliances between "Like-minded hegemons" Russia, China, Japan and even Germany. The results of the game are disastrous for the above-mentioned states. Since each of these possible challengers feels mostly neighborly involvement and acts locally, they lack either the geographic location and global aspirations or simply the political courage and military capacity and will to counter politically. Rather than incur the wrath of the superpower, they prefer bilateral agreements and arrangements with it. For this reason alone such "strategic partnerships", between China, Russia and India, France, Germany and Russia, or even Germany, Russia, China and Japan is unlikely. If, contrary to expectations, such an alliance would need more than twenty years to reach anywhere near the current level of the USA.

Today, however, U.S. dominance is the status quo.


And also the geopolitical situation of the USA, which consists of water in the west and east, and accommodates lickspittles and followers in the south and north, speaks a clear language. Despite Nine-Eleven and the new security problems that have arisen from it, which have already led to a massive curtailment of the personal freedoms and rights of citizens, and despite the latent danger of new acts of terrorism, the USA is in principle less vulnerable than previous hegemonies because of this geography.

Full freedom of movement and fire

So what does it mean for American politics when their country is unrivaled in the long run and a "Permanent hegemony" will hold? Until now, every power has had concrete rivals, opponents or challengers to rub up against or win over: Athens had Sparta, Rome had Carthage, Philip II had the Roman Empire, and so on. England, the United Kingdom the emerging Germany, and the USA the Soviet Empire. And now? So what to do in the face of this situation?

A return to polyphony is categorically ruled out by the two hawks. The disadvantages of such a system far outweighed its advantages. Even a slight backslide into a web of agreements, arrangements and understandings with others could become a worst-case scenario for the superpower "worst case scenario" become. Not only because the once achieved freedom of action, movement and fire all over the world has been restricted and recklessly given out of hand. But also because the country as a "Leader of the Pack" could once again become the focus of the most diverse resentments and hatreds of state and non-state actors alike. Interestingly, the authors consider the dangers of terrorism to be rather low, since it is not a new phenomenon historically. A multipolar order was also generally threatened by him. And also the culture circle theory, the "Clash of civilizations", or the front position to an aggressive Islamism, exists for the "New Rome" no longer.

Good hegemony

In view of this geopolitical constellation, U.S. leaders have often had to congratulate themselves. At last they can pursue all their power-political goals without having to consider others. But attention! Could other states not feel provoked by such hardline interest politics and possibly form counter-coalitions?? concerns like these of the real politician Joseph S. Nye jr. wipe the cold "analysts of power" from the table. Those who think in this way simply overlook or fail to recognize the reality of the international system "the reality of the international system".

Nevertheless, they advise the government not to abuse its power without restraint. What often seems to be advisable in business or in everyday life, usually also uses in the system of political relations. Political goals are usually more likely to be achieved through goodness, rudeness, and generosity than through right-wing thuggery, blind confrontation, or the demonstration of unyielding hardness. Here the clever formula of a "benign hegemony" or. of one "good US imperialism" Why do we ame that a Catholic abbot can contribute more profoundly to stem cell research than a molecular biologist?.

On the other hand, also the two hardliners and "aggressive unilateralists" aware that the most urgent global problems, such as "Environment, disease, migration and the stability of the world economy" can only be achieved with the help of partners, friends and alliances. This is why Russia and China should also be included in the international system, although in the medium term this strategy may strengthen their authoritarian structures and is diametrically opposed to the political theology of universalism, to which the strict Jungian and neoconservatism is committed. But already the economic taming of the East Asian tiger states in the nineties has shown that the opening of the markets for investments and products of the West and the integration into the economic system can be the most successful and best form of the subjugation and control of foreign states and competitors.

In this case, too, the formula that was coined by Joschka Fischer’s former eagle minister and bosom friend, Madelaine Albright, and which her successor in the State Department, Colin Powell, has also made his motto, probably still applies: "We act multilaterally when we can; and we act unilaterally when we must."

All roads led to Washington

Once all roads led to Rome; today they lead to Washington. That’s what all the heads of government of the rest of the world learned in the days after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. For weeks, they had to deal, one or the other perhaps with "with secret joy" Today, they go to Washington, via the stop at the heart, to the command post Control travel to Washington. After expressing their heartfelt condolences to the President before the eyes of the world public, they then took their further orders in the Oval Office, in private.

Allies are welcome, not as partners, but as instruments of American will.

Adam Garfinkle

For this reason alone, the rest of the world should be wary of American "Access" not to be dazzled. Above all, not those who have unabashedly pinned their political hopes, aspirations and energies on the "Strengthening of transnational government regimes" on institutions such as the "the International Criminal Court, the UN Security Council and, of course, a more enlightened World Bank" (Claus Leggewie). If such are made, then only if they are in accordance with the national interest. The disenfranchisement in Europe over the "rotten compromise" to the ICC, only got so rough because commentators, advisers and leaders are still under political illusions "weigh" or semantics that contradict the realities of world politics.

Preparations for the third Gulf War are already in full swing. The deployment plans have already been traded on the open market. Probably also to get a feel for the situation and to test in advance the readiness of the partners to bomb away the barbarian and chief villain Saddam.

However, before the U.S. armada will show up in front of Iraqi shores and walls and unleash a three-front apocalypse for the region from land, air and sea, we will surely witness a lively diplomatic ritual consisting of consultations, requests for aid and bilateral negotiations. And while on the prints and screens of the world public still excited and heated debates about the legitimacy of this war, a media-aesthetic variant of "panem and circensis", Meanwhile, Washington, like Rome once did, has sovereignly set the day and time of the attack and decided on its form and scope alone.

The decline

In the light of the situation, the danger for the hyperpower threatens only from within. Not of Islamist sleeper agents, terrorist cells, blacks or anthrax bombers, as one would think, but of its own sheer arrogance and exaggerated Way of Life. Even a jingoism will not change that. Interest in him will soon wane.

Zbig Brsezinski described this hedonistic and aggressive egoism, this amoral greed for personal happiness, possessions and wealth at the expense of others, in the early nineties under the catchword of a "permissive cornucopia" summarized. It was also the occasion for Paul Kennedy’s famous and much-discussed book about "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers". This "rough narrative" The use of the lusts of the death of man to describe the rise and inevitable fall of the American nation, just because it is the sole center of power at the moment, is far from off the table. History is more than a snapshot. This too is not coincidentally reminiscent of Rome.

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