Friday, December 08, 2006

The hegemon who isn't

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has been considered a hegemon, the one global superpower. That may be technically correct, but it is not completely accurate. We made little effort to fill the void left by the collapse of Soviet communism. Instead we continued along on our merry way, oblivious to the ways in which the resulting world was changing around us.

While circumstance made us a hegemon, we've never played the part, regardless of what anti-American protestors might say. What has developed over the past ten to fifteen years is a huge sucking power vacuum in opposition to us, right in that place the Soviet Union used to occupy. Today we are watching parts of the world test their mettle as a global power counter-balances to us. This can be seen in Europe, in Russia and China, in Iran and the Middle East, and also in an ideology, Radical Islam. These global power wannabes do not conflict often with one another, but they do conflict frequently with us because we are the benchmark by which their power will be measured.

It is too late for us to fill that power vacuum left by both the Soviet fall and our reluctance for more power, not that we ever really wanted to fill it ourselves, anyway. We would be well advised to understand that things are going to remain quite unstable until some nation(s) or ideology does fill that power vacuum opposite us, though.

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