By Mohammad Mazhari

U.S. doesn’t have the same economic superiority it had before: political scientist 

February 16, 2022 - 0:14
‘In many ways U.S. is declining as a hegemon’  

TEHRAN - David Schultz, a distinguished professor of political science and legal studies from Hamline University, says that the U.S. lacks the same economic dominance it once had to advance its global ambitions.

“The U.S. does not have the same economic superiority it had at its height,” Schultz tells the Tehran Times.

  “At one time its GDP was half of the entire global GBP.  Now it is about 20% with China and the EU at about the same level.”

Some reports say that China will overtake the U.S. to become the world's largest economy by 2028.

The U.S. economy, by contrast, has been hit hard by the world's worst coronavirus epidemic in terms of sheer numbers.

“It lacks the same economic dominance it once had to support its global ambitions. On top of that, the political divisions in the U.S. make it hard to exercise global dominance especially after Afghanistan and a U.S. retreat from foreign engagements,” Schultz notes.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: After weaponizing sanctions against Iran, Washington is going to use them against Russia under the pretext of the Ukraine crisis. Do you think the sanction policy is an efficient weapon?
A: More often than not sanctions do not work.  Many regimes are able to withstand sanctions or find ways to get around them.  In many cases, sanctions hurt regular people more than the regime and the sanctions often provide the pretext for leaders to galvanize public opinion in their country against those imposing the sanctions.

Q: What determines America's foreign policy?
A: The making of U.S. foreign policy is complex.  It involves many players including the president, the State and Defense Departments, Congress, and other elites.  It is driven by several basic principles.

American foreign policy since the end of World War II is guided by several principles or which have largely remained constant over time.   If we assume as realists do that each nation acts in its own interests, then one can argue that these are the guiding principles of U.S. foreign policy:

The first principle is a commitment to liberal democratic world order.

A second guiding value linked to the first is opposition to communism and now global terrorism.  This principle may be an outgrowth of the first principle endorsing democracy, but it is its own distinct guiding value.  From the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cold War politics defined the U.S.  This played out in terms of the U.S. being viewed as the leader of the free world or at the same time seen as the world’s policeman in terms of seeking to enforce democratic norms.  Anti-communism as a defining principle meant during the height of the Cold War that international relations could depict the world as bipolar–with respective spheres of influence allocated to the U.S. and the USSR.

The third principle for the U.S. was the maintenance of military and nuclear superiority over all other countries in the world.  The Cold War was in part about both of these types of superiorities.
Finally, the fourth principle was economic dominance or superiority.

Q: Some critics say that America as a global hegemon is declining after the emergence of China. Do you agree?

A: In many ways, yes.  The U.S. does not have the same economic superiority it had at its height.  At one time its GDP was half of the entire global GBP.  Now it is about 20% with China and the EU at about the same level.  It lacks the same economic dominance it once had to support its global ambitions. On top of that, the political divisions in the U.S. make it hard to exercise global dominance especially after Afghanistan and a U.S. retreat from foreign engagements.

Q:  Given the current divisions in America, do you predict its democracy will be at risk in the near future?

A: It is at risk already according to many studies.  We face many internal challenges and political divides.

Q: How do you describe U.S. foreign policy? Is it cooperative or militant?

Both depends on the issue and the president and the countries involved.

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