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Fri. July 30, 2021
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Is American Power Truly Declining?
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In recent years, with the War in Iraq over and the War in Afghanistan winding down, there are many who speak of an America in decline. The recent Great Recession only served to feed this way of thinking. There are many politicians, scholars and average citizens who say that America no longer wields the power that it once did, and that this is a trend that is likely to continue with the rise of new global powers like China. Some even go so far as to say that countries like China will, one day soon, even surpass the United States in global politics. However, this belief does not represent the current reality that is the United States. The United States still maintains a level of militaristic, economic and diplomatic that far surpasses any other great power. The United States Military is still regarded as the most powerful fighting force in the world, despite its alleged difficulties in the Middle East Wars. Despite advancements by countries such as China, the U.S. still possesses the world’s most capable blue water navy, possessing almost twice the number of aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined. It’s armed forces are the most globally deployed of any nation, and it possesses the most advanced generation of fighter planes in existence. If military power is measured in turns of relativity, then the U.S. does not have much to fear in that regard, at least for the moment. The other great powers will have to make great strides if they are to challenge the U.S. for its dominant military position, and that does not even speak of its economic one. Economics is still a field where the United States reigns supreme. It’s true that the Great Recession was a setback for the American economy, but it was hardly a crippling one. The U.S. economy is still the largest one on earth, with China as a distant second. Even if China eventually surpasses the U.S. as the largest economy, this will only mean that over a billion people produces an economic output equal to a much smaller 300 million. For the United States to be truly surpassed economically, a nation will have to surpass it both in terms of GDP and GDP per Capita. However, no country in the world currently appears to be trending in that direction. Therefore, it may be safe to say that the U.S. will continue to occupy its spot of economic hegemony on the global stage. However, money does not always translate into power, nor does might. Sometimes, relationships are an even greater currency than the rest, and this is a commodity that the United States is not lacking in. If the United States could be currently characterized as an empire, then it is an empire not of colonies but of alliances. Superpowerdom is a position in international relations, ascribed to the country or countries that wield the most influence. How much influence the U.S. possesses now in regards to its past is a matter of debate. However, it cannot be refuted that America still has the greatest pull and prestige of any other major power. The United States possess a wealth of alliances and friendly relationships that stretch across the length of the globe. It is also the most major player in NATO, the world’s foremost military alliances that includes every major Western power. Beyond Europe, the U.S. possesses strong ties with countries ranging from Colombia, Israel and Saudi Arabia to Australia, Japan and South Korea. The majority of the world’s largest economies align with the U.S. on many fronts. If the United States were truly in decline, then these traditional allies would become increasingly hostile to American overtures. Instead, the American alliance system is just as strong as ever. These global conditions do not reflect an America that is declining on the global stage. As was stated in the beginning of this article, the American military, economic and diplomatic situation does not reflect an America that is declining. It cannot be denied that there have been bumps on the road, but they hardly add up to an American system on the verge of defeat or replacement. The U.S. Military is still the most capable fighting force around today. The American economy has hiccupped but has neither collapsed nor regressed into another recession. While the United States does not and cannot do whatever it wants whenever it pleases, this can hardly be construed as weakness. Based on these facts, it would be a mistake to characterize the United States as a power that is waning. The longevity of American hegemony is certainly not a permanent guarantee. However, for the time being, the U.S. faces no serious threat to its supremacy in international affairs. Zachary K. Ochoa is an honor’s student at James Madison University, studying International Affairs and Relations.

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