International relations perspectives are conditional and they can be considered as natural hypotheses that are assumed but need to be checked against the reality as the facts of life unfold. A rational perspective should be adjustable to the dynamic circumstances, and it allows the society to continuously tune its understanding of the dynamic world around it. Various schools of thought aim at determining or predicting the economics, politics, and other social factors that affect societal life.
The world is going through a phase of turbulence: humanitarian crisis, political revolutions, and counter-revolutions. A phase in which even the intellects of the day seem to lose grips over the events around the world where economic, political events, and other social crises are conditioning each other. Not even the equilibrium established by capitalists is solving the problems. A solution in one area causes a crisis in another sector. It is impossible to solve a political problem without tampering with the equilibrium of the economy and vice versa. It is a phase in which the pressures between classes and states are increasing; politicians blaming the economists and producers pointing at the consumers. In recent time, tension has been on the rise, aggressive diplomacy, proxy battles, and trade crises have intensified. It is during such a period that it is inevitable to make mistakes. The solution we initiate to the problems that are prompted by our actions must be rational and based on analysis of the problem rather than on instincts.
The US is currently facing the worst economic downturn in several generations. According to Marxists, the current crisis is not a normal economic cycle, but it is a transitional phase between capitalist eras, the curve has started a downward tread. The meltdown is destroying production system faster than the boom can repair the damage. However, there is a lack of a clear-cut line between the events, and their relationship is complex. The pressure also accumulates within small organizations and among members of society. Minor differences during the previous phase have assumed considerable magnitudes based on the prevailing conditions. The minor mistakes in tactics and methods, under normal circumstances, have resulted in serious problems.
Impatience with the rate of development and unpredictability of economic events, regardless of the assurance of economic and political perspectives, is impacting the entire body of activists. Politically, many people harbored hopes in Obama’s regime – they expected that once he settles in, he would set the economy on sail, massively mobilizing resources and eradicating the obstacles that stood in the path of economic development. But their hopes in Obama were a mirage, as based on the “Yes We Can” campaign slogan that was short-lived. These activists lacked the long-term Marxist perspective; they could not evaluate the reasons behind the masses’ passive reaction to the capitalists. They still hold on to their already failed schemes, organizing ineffective actions for the sake of doing something, even when it is not offering any solution. These activists tend to blame the Marxism school of thought or advocate for socialism, setting off a possibility of coming up with a new approach. That approach might present a complex equation and the answer that may involve a political decision. Due to the crisis in the working class, its leadership is to blame for acting contrary to the expectations, offering no vision. The situation is even worse in the case of the US, where the working class lacks political voice, other than voting power.
It is not sufficient to generalize the phases that the world economy is experiencing. This nature of analysis does not provide the solution to the challenge that confronts leaders of organizations. Nevertheless, it should be clear that the bottom line is that economy has a role to play in the determination of solutions to this complex scenario.
While the 19th century marked the rise and the subsequent decline of the British imperialism, 20th century saw America rise to the top of the world as a super power, in leadership, economy and military wise. However, by the end of the century, America was struggling to retain the status quo. Dollar was no longer the currency that ruled. Between 80s and 90s, the US economy was at stagnation, nothing new was forthcoming. This period America was performing below the standards of the Golden era. The future of America was foretold by two events that unfolded at the beginning of the 21st century. First, the symbol of capitalism, the US capital market collapsed. For at least three years consecutively, the stock markets globally have been in a decline. These waves have swept across US bringing the rich and large companies to their knees. Big companies have closed doors if not caught up in corruption in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. In America, the average family made a loss of about 25% of its money in stocks and shares. Obviously, most US citizens do not keep their wealth in stock market. Most of their assets are in the form of properties, such as mortgages. Though property has retained its value for some time, the waves have swept hard on them through mortgage scandals. Secondly, the flag of the US economic supremacy, the dollar, has declined. During 2010, dollar lost by 15 per cent against Euro. It has also recorded a decline against Japanese currency, which has been stagnant over the last 14 years. Among the major currencies, it is only the pound sterling which has traded at almost the same rate as the dollar. This may be attributed to the homogeneity of the policies between the two nations.
Behind the collapsing of the American stock market and currency weakening there is the decline of economic body in the US Empire. The Roman Empire remained as the super power for hundreds of years, overcoming several rebels. However, it was economic meltdown that brought the empire to its knees. The Roman economy was based on small-scale enterprises that operated freely. Once the empire took over, it led to the development of large-scale estates that were owned by the minority rich. There was a need of masses to work on those estates and this introduced slavery. However, the economy driven by manpower of slaves did not last long, and eventually it declined. The Roman economy collapsed since the consumption of the Caesar’s period was exceeding the supply of slaves. The empire detested technology assuming that slave just needed to be pushed harder to meet the demand of the idle Romans and their large number of military men. One may argue that its decline did not occur overnight, but the fact is that it eventually collapsed.
The US security market bubble was pierced when the investors woke up to the reality that the shares and the securities they had heavily invested in, would not return as the companies managements claimed. American corporate return began to decline as early as 1997, but it did not dawn upon investors until 2000. From a Marxist perspective, the profitability declined because America multilateral could not obtain sufficient value from their labor force to compensate for investment in technology. There was an over investment by US multinationals. The Achilles’ heel of capitalism-production is that it is driven by profit, but not to meet people’s needs. The aspect of planning is replaced with anarchy, and cooperation is replaced with competition. The outcome is a slump after boom.
It did not happen as a surprise that, as the American economy declined, American leaders were flexing their muscles militarily. The aim of this is to re-assume political and economic power over the global resources while convincing nations who may be in doubt about the power of US. A war against Saddam Hussein was meant to divert attention from the matters of weather, demonizing Saddam as a threat to the progress of the world economy. The rise of Saddam to power was supported by the same people, who turned a blind eye when he gassed Iraq citizens. He was labeled a world’s number one enemy when he miscalculated and attempted to overthrow a gangster regime that was ruling in Kuwait. US knew it was easier with Sheikdom of Kuwait than with Saddam to siphon oil from the Middle East; hence, Saddam was overthrown and a regime that would idolize US was reinstated. After 9/11, Saddam was short-listed for destruction together with the kingpins of Al Qaeda. This was the start of the decline of US. The US president and his government could not accommodate anyone who attempted to contradict their will. Why not war-torn Somalia or dictatorship in Sudan where millions have been killed and many other displaced? Why North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Syria? They are threatening the interest of the world super power. As the list of the threatening regimes increase, it is going to cost the US economy billions of dollars. War may be won in a short time without much cost, but the establishment of a friendly government may take a number of years and of resources in installation of such a regime.
The wars in Iraq may have taken less than one year for America and her allies to capture Baghdad, but the occupation in both Iraq and Afghanistan dragged causing the world oil price to skyrocket. As a result, the cost of life in US and West increased dramatically. Spending fell back, and the global economy moved into recession. Already, the global economy was not growing in 2002. The cost related to the US meddling in the Middle East is estimated to be $1.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 1 percent off the annual global GDP over four years. Considering that the world economy was at a plateau, cutting off 1% of the global GDP for the following five years, recession and stagnation of economic growth could not be avoided. The situation is that pathetic, seeing that US is yet to confront the nuclear-enhanced North Korea and Iran. Carried away by the notion that it is all-powerful, US has over stretched itself over the global supervision. The failure of the Roman economy resulted in political segmentation and failure. Though US is not yet there, the path followed might end up there by the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, the same way it happened to the British empire in the 20th century. Unlike in the case of Roman Empire, the working class is capable to replace the declining American capitalism; hence, America’s decline does not culminate to anarchy if the working class succeeds.
Referring to the security stability, the hegemonic theory offers a solution to the questions on the determination of the economic integration and cooperation. This theory hypothesizes that the orders of liberal trading are maintained by a superpower. The theory does not overrule the possibility of self-determination, but creates a situation that leads to its suppression. Realists argue that, after the World War II, the United State had three crucial advantages in the realm of the world economy and politics: stability in the monetary system, market, and access to the Middle East oil. Unfortunately, all things must have a beginning and an end. At the core of the theory of stability is that the arrangement is eventually unstable. The hegemonic stability theory cannot withstand the increasing costs, inevitable overextension, and loss of power. Eventually, the challengers will arise, and the hegemonic system will end up in war marking the end of the cycle and the start of another.
Practically, there is no realist who believes that the hegemony cycle can endure endlessly. During the 1970s, it was evident that the United States’ controlled economy was on a decline. This was seen at the last part of the US Golden era and the closing economic gap between the US and her allies, which were partial functions of recovery after the war. In the 1970s and 1980s, conservatives’ pressure was rising in fear that the global economy was at the point of collapsing. Though US has led globally in GDP, cooperation has been increasingly multilateral, symmetric, and less hegemonic. Whereas the US role as the structural underwriter and maintainer of multilateral is less articulated, the cooperation has expanded, accelerated, and deepened.
While it is true, to a certain level, that the transitional principal performs universal functions unrestricted by the State, the means by which the US attempts to practice global supremacy and hegemony is deeply rooted in the exercise of military imperialism. According to a realist, the US is struggling to maintain its status as the global business center. It is flexing its military muscle with a hope of making others forget its industrial flaws, finance inadequacy, and voracious character. For realists, the US has lost her supremacy and can only flaunt her melodramatic micro militarism in the name of fighting terrorism. Other critics are less optimistic about the disappearance of the US supremacy, though it is more founded on her excessive military dominance than on the splendid economic structure. The realists argue that the battle against the imperialism of the US and her militarism is global. Several analysts of imperialism of US have found a correlation between the demise of the Soviet Union and the decline of the US supremacy.
Unipolarity and the irregular dominance possessed by political forces in the US, took advantage of the conservatives underscoring the need for continuing illusions shared by the leaders and citizens equally concerning the denial of the US imperialism. However, the accumulation of military force for the sake of imperial power abroad and certain legality in the US poses a primary contradiction and a question. If the world supremacy demands an expansive and firm support, military dominance is not a choice. Another dilemma facing America’s military supremacy and the accompanying strategies, as an outcome of the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, is power overstretch.
The pursuit of wars by the US causes resistance from abroad, and potential disagreement inside the US. Certainly, opposition to a military enabled the US policy to open up, from global protests to local insurgencies. Irrespective of the resistance, the US is out to encounter protest in imposing the sense of order in nations. On the other hand, America’s perception of that opposition is filtered by the ideological screen that labels resistance as anti-American or terrorism. All US presidents have attempted to shape the global politics. This global fascination and mission with military dominance has entangled the US home priorities, hence stretching her resources excessively. Though the overstretch is well articulated in the consequences of the recent global economic crisis and the propagation of conflicts in other regions, the most primary pledge by the politicians is that the practicing global leadership will still continue. The big question to all schools of thought remains whether the US can be cajoled internally or externally to abandon its efforts to dominate the world through intimidation of the so labeled anti- Americans or terrorists.