By Mohammad Mazhari

Historian says U.S. beginning to experience its own decline

February 16, 2022 - 0:18
‘The worst example of American arrogance was in the Trump administration’

TEHRAN - Ronald Grigor Suny, a professor emeritus of political science and history at the University of Chicago, says that the U.S. as the richest and most powerful country in the world is beginning to experience its own decline. 

“The United States, still the richest and most powerful country in the world, is beginning to experience its own decline, and its leaders know this,” the professor tells the Tehran Times.

“They fear a rising hegemon, China, and a much weaker one, Russia, and believe that Iran is unpredictable and a threat to its major Middle Eastern (West Asian) ally, Israel,” Suny adds.

According to the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Developments in the last fifteen years have driven renewed interest in hegemonic stability and power-transition theory. 

The persistence of U.S.-centered primacy during the 1990s produced new arguments for the stability of unipolar orders recent attention to the rise of China has made the dynamics of power transitions a central concern for work on grand strategy and interstate security, the institute said.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Do you think the U.S. is the only hegemon in the world by dictating its demands or the situation has changed since World War II?

American foreign policy is having a difficult time adjusting to changes in the world, particularly the rise of China and the return of Russia. The United States, still the richest and most powerful country in the world is beginning to experience its own decline, and its leaders know this. They fear a rising hegemon, China, and a much weaker one, Russia, and believe that Iran is unpredictable and a threat to its major Middle Eastern (West Asian) ally, Israel. At the same time, the American people are bitterly divided between Left and Right, city and country, North and South. There is no unity in thinking about what the country needs domestically or internationally. And the dominant emotions in America are doubt, fear, and anxiety about the future.

Q: Some critics say the U.S. may fall into the same trap that its rival USSR fell in. What is your comment?

Russia is the USA's traditional enemy, but not a serious threat to its security. However, once again old mental habits have re-emerged. The American public and the country's elite do not think Russia has legitimate security interests in Ukraine or the former Soviet Union, just as it does not recognize that Iran has security interests in the Middle East (West Asia). While the USA still believes it has the right, through the Monroe Doctrine, to exclusive diplomatic and military hegemony in the Western Hemisphere, it refuses to see other powers having similar interests near to their borders.

Q: How do you interpret Trump's presidency for America’s future? Is it an alarm for the Americans?

The worst example of American arrogance was in the Trump administration. Luckily for the world and the USA, Trump was simply not that interested in either foreign or domestic policy. He was interested primarily in himself, his family, his companies, and his own wealth. For that reason, he did not do very much except bluster, make outrageous statements, frightens America's allies, and stupidly leave the treaty with Iran. Biden, on the other hand, is a serious politician, tactician, and thinker, and unlike Trump, he has a good heart, possesses empathy, and wants to leave the world a better place when he ends his presidency. But American foreign policy is always hostage to domestic elites, and the Republicans will attack Biden, accuse him of appeasement, if he makes serious concessions to Russia, so an unnecessary crisis has erupted over Ukraine. America has moral interests in Ukraine - support for its principles, democracy, and the NATO charter - but Russia has serious geopolitical interests in not having NATO forces and Western weaponry on its border. Compromise is necessary and possible.

The American people are bitterly divided between Left and Right, city and country, North and South.

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