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Viewings: 3741The United States is losing its hegemonic status. If Barack Obama wants to successfully navigate the waters of foreign policy in the next four years, he will have to correct Outlook Americans
Barack Obama has been re-elected to the post of the head of state, concentrating on issues of domestic policy. In any case, look at what happens behind the borders of the US, it would be unbearable for American voters. There is no fault Obama, because foreign policy problems, as a rule, long history, so that the President can hardly be accused of that he could not foresee the current global crisis.
However, it must be admitted that for today's picture of the world characteristic of apocalyptic features. On it we see the four horsemen of the Apocalypse - the Iranian nuclear program, the unrest in the Islamic countries, the Eurozone crisis and the slowdown of the Chinese economy. There is also the fifth horseman purely American origin - the Federal budget deficit. The Economist believes that it is the last circumstance carries the main threat, and the New York Times shares this view. After the presidential elections, the newspaper published an article titled "back to the work of the Obama meets the threat of a crisis in the fiscal sphere" (Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Fiscal Crisis).
The idea of this article is that the United States will not be able anymore to combine the level of taxation, typical for small countries, and the costs that can afford only major power. In addition, there are fears that the US will immediately feel the consequences of the global crisis, as only one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to raise his head.
In America's foreign policy is rarely a criterion that allows one or another President to be reelected for a second term, but it could well be the reason for the defeat in the elections. Remember George H.W. Bush, who celebrated the triumph during the operation "desert Storm in 1991, and then was forced to listen to accusations from Clinton and Gore, who had criticized the President for what he is too fond of prosecuting Saddam and paid insufficient attention to the economy of their country? Obama has adopted similar tactics by rebuilding it, however, in reverse order - first, he demonstrated foreign policy achievements of his first term (the list is crowned by Osama bin Laden), and then focused on the internal political successes - among them bailout the automotive industry, the reduction of unemployment and the law on medical treatment. Some attention he, however, gave complicated relations with Israel, led by Netanyahu.
However, upon returning to the White house, Obama will have to solve the problem of the Federal budget in January of the following year to avoid the consequences of the so-called "fiscal cliff - simultaneous increase of taxes and reduction of expenses for a total of $600 billion
Most likely it is he will. Third term, Obama is still not in sight, so he can afford unpopular measures. However, resolving the crisis inside the country does not relieve of the President of the necessity to deal with foreign policy problems - they remain relevant and can be a threat to the American economy. The abovementioned four horsemen of the Apocalypse represent such calls, which had not found yet any American President in the period after the Second world war. The United States has lost that power, which once had. Although the American GDP still remains the largest in the world, the country is heavily dependent on foreign capital, especially Chinese.
On average, each US citizen shall about 17.5 thousand dollars to foreign creditors. The total size of indebtedness per capita (external and internal together) is 52 thousand dollars. However, if we consider only the taxpayer, the amount increases to 140 thousand
The military superiority of the United States was undermined by the decision to Fund the invasion of Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan by "emergency spending" is a large - scale military operations were planned without taking into account the gaps that they could find in the budget of the country. Economists Joseph Stiglits (Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes (Linda Bilmes) has calculated that the total cost of the two wars may already exceeded three trillion dollars. Because 42% of the external debt of the USA are in the hands of China and Japan, there is some connection between the stability of the American military system and the availability of foreign loans.
In absolute terms, China accounts for only 8% of the state debt of the us government, however, to solve the problem of the budget crisis is still vital if the U.S. wants to continue to spend up to $ 600 million on military needs (this amount, incidentally, does not include the cost of security within the country). While the United States will not stand in the way of financial autonomy, their position in the confrontation with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will remain weak.
Some experts (including Russian President Putin) find Obama has similarities with Mikhail Gorbachev, i.e. consider him "a person who has to lead the country in the period of the collapse of the political system, which he is desperately trying to save." The US, no doubt, are in the twilight of his power, while on the world stage have other powers, quickly gaining political weight. However, comparing with the Soviet Union would be wrong, because America is not powerful "territorial Empire" in the Soviet sense of the word. Parallels here rather can be performed with the British Empire (although I'm not talking about the presence of the full similarity). In his comprehensive study on the analysis of the rise and fall of the great powers, Fernand Braudel (Fernand Braudel) specifies several factors, characteristic of empires during the sunset. It is the presence of excess funds, which have no place to invest, clear signs of polarization of incomes and the fact that countries that were once colonial markets", having learned all the hegemon, are starting to use it tools and strategic methods. China is now introducing elements of a free market in the economy of the state with one-party system. In some countries of the Middle East the term "democracy" has become a trendy word, through which various religious parties justify their claim to power.
Obama's second term, certainly not enough to prevent the sunset. However, the experience of the British Empire can help in understanding how the U.S. should respond to the challenges they face in the international arena. The basic rule is that foreign policy should serve its domestic needs, because such a luxury as idealism can only afford Empire, found in the Zenith of his power.
Describing the sunset of the British Empire, Samuel Adamson (Samuel Adamson) pointed to "intentional preserve the prestige of the pound sterling in the international arena, driven by nostalgia for the bright days of British rule on the world stage, what is harmful and very painfully affected the economy of the country the government of which tried first of all to decide foreign policy goals". In the post-Imperial era world system returns to the "medieval" phase of its development, which is characterized by the emergence of regional powers (in this case Iran, Egypt, Israel, and China). The U.S. is no longer the Central power in the world, but simply relatively strong player on the international arena. The era of post-war domination ended, so the country needs a new geostrategic line.
Take, for example, the UK. After the Second world war in the absence of such political leaders, thinking Imperial terms, as Winston Churchill, the country had to resort to the help of the US for the settlement of international problems. This happened during the Iranian crises 1946 and 1951-53 of years, and then, when Britain tried alone to settle the Suez crisis of 1956. The United States in that period were a powerful state is able to set the tone of the process of peaceful conflict resolution.
Today, recourse to regional powers to achieve foreign policy goals was for America commonplace. Washington was often able to attract other countries to solve their problems on the international arena. For example, the CIA supported the Mujahideen in Pakistan, in an effort to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Nixon administration took steps towards a rapprochement with China to limit the political influence of the USSR in 1970-ies.
In fact, even today, China is a very important force, attraction which could help America in the fight against the above four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Take, for example, the problem of Iran. Sanctions against Tehran, has started to work only when Beijing agreed to limit commercial relations with Iran (in particular, purchase of oil). China could become an ally of the US in terms of deterrence extremist regimes that have already come or will come to power in the Middle East - from Pakistan to Morocco. Tehran canem to reconsider its nuclear strategy if sanctions will remain tough, and Beijing will refuse to carry with him the case. Perhaps in the future a similar role will assume and India, so the model, which is based on deterrence, will allow to limit Russia's influence in the region.
The new policy of detente" with the involvement of China can reduce the risks of a downturn in Asia and to remain at the present level threads Chinese money going to the Federal reserve system of the USA, at least, as long as America does not restructures its budget.
The new strategy will require changes in the balance of forces in the Pacific region (the center of gravity will move from the West coast of America to the East coast of China). However, this will be the lesser of two evils, because dreams of world domination in terms of remoteness from the geopolitical realities and public debt, amounting to 16 billion dollars, it is hardly possible to implement.
Stefano Casertano - expert in the field of international politics, writer and journalist living and working in Berlin, which specializes in questions of the world economy and energy. Masters degree at Columbia University, he defended his doctoral thesis in Potsdam University, where he teaches at the faculty of sociology. He was the Advisor of the Ministry of economic development of Italy on problems of international relations and was the head of a consulting firm Partnership Value Management, which is a part of ENI . Currently Casertano is the managing Director of the consulting company The Energy Company Affairs.
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