Mr Ali Hamza is working as a Research Officer at CISS AJK. He completed his BS in Political Science from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad. He is currently pursuing an MPhil in International Relations from the same university. His research interests include strategic transitions and realignments, international security and politics, and the identity of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He regularly contributes to Global Village Space.
The book by Stephen Wertheim, Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, begins with a broad overview of the geopolitical landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He emphasizes the role of the United States in reshaping the world order as a result of its “unique capacity for power projection.”
Wertheim argues that the United States was an outlier in its ability to have a significant impact on international politics, due to its vast resources, vibrant economy, and well-developed military apparatus. He also highlights the importance of US foreign policy in forming alliances with other countries, securing strategic resources, and expanding its economic and political reach.
Tomorrow, the World examines the ideological basis of American foreign policy. Wertheim argues that the United States was guided by a belief in its own “exceptionalism,” which allowed it to justify its actions abroad and convince other nations to align with it.
He then proceeds to examine the ways in which the United States employed its capacity for power projection in order to expand its influence. The US encouraged the spread of liberal ideals through its support of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
He looks at how the United States used its military strength to intervene in conflicts abroad, often in support of democratic and capitalist ideals that served American interests. He also argues that the United States’ attempts to shape the world in its own image have often been met with resistance, leading to increased tensions and instability.
Rise of the US
Stephen Wertheim presents a comprehensive analysis of the rise and fall of American hegemony in the modern world, tracing the emergence of the United States as a superpower in the post-World War II era and the subsequent decline of American influence in the 21st century.
Wertheim examines the conditions that enabled the United States to become a superpower. He argues that the United States was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the post-WWII era. The United States emerged from the war with a strong economy and a reputation as a powerful defender of democracy which enabled it to take advantage of the power vacuum created by the decline of the British and French empires.
Additionally, the United States was able to capitalize on the collapse of the Soviet Union and the weakening of other socialist countries. He further states that the United States actively sought to shape the international system, pointing to the Marshall Plan and the formation of the United Nations as examples of American efforts to create an international system that was favourable to the United States.
While Wertheim does provide an extensive analysis of the United States’ role in global affairs, he does not adequately consider the role of other countries in the emergence of the US’s global hegemony. As such, this critique argues that Wertheim’s portrayal of America’s role in international relations is overly simplistic and one-dimensional.
For example, Wertheim fails to sufficiently address the important contributions of the British Empire in the rise of US power. The British Empire was a major player in the development of the modern international system and in the rise of the United States as a superpower. Britain provided the United States with an extensive network of alliances, economic aid, and military support that enabled the United States to gain a foothold in the international system. By failing to recognize the importance of the British Empire in the rise of US power, Wertheim’s analysis remains incomplete.
Another major criticism of the book is that it fails to sufficiently acknowledge the role of domestic actors and institutions in the emergence of the US’s global hegemony. This criticism is partially valid. While Wertheim does provide an examination of the role of international actors in the emergence of the US’s power, he fails to adequately consider the role of domestic actors and institutions, particularly the Congress and the Supreme Court.
The book also fails to adequately consider the potential negative consequences of the US’s global hegemony. Critics argue that Wertheim fails to adequately acknowledge the potential for the US’s global hegemony to result in negative consequences, such as increased militarization, economic inequality, and environmental degradation.
Overall, Wertheim’s book is an impressive and comprehensive account of the rise of the United States as a global superpower, making it an ideal resource for anyone interested in the history of American foreign policy and its impact on the world. He provides an in-depth analysis of the geopolitical and ideological forces that have shaped American foreign policy, as well as the consequences of the United States’ rise to pre-eminence.
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