As a beacon for Western ideology, the United States established the paradigm of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it was not always this way, and will not always stay this way. For almost two decades war ravaged Europe, and World War I made the United States the world’s leading creditor and the unoffical custodian of the gold standard. After World War I, countries whispered never again, but soon enough, World War II made the United States an international superpower. To obtain such an honor, a nation needs to have a strong economy, an incontestable army, immense international political power, and relating to this, a deep-seated national ideology. The US stood as a titan amongst gods, and the new superpower ushered in an era of dominance where the world became their battlefield. With the world in their hands and no end in sight, the United States directed the international sociopolitical climate, but the height of the United States’ preeminence has come and gone.
Following the turn of the century, technology transformed the impact of global affairs. Specifically, “we are now living in a G-Zero world, one in which no single country or bloc of countries has the political and economic leverage–or the will–to drive a truly international agenda,” (Bremmer and Roubini pars 3). In the modern age, everyone owns a cell phone with a video camera, and combining the usage of these devices with the internet, everyone has a voice, unlike before. The power behind these new voices exposes the dark underbelly of the United States, and the US can no longer maintain this facade. A vast number of Americans view the United States as international champion for good, and “although America has made progress on some social issues, the United States lags behind other rich countries on infant mortality, life expectancy, children in poverty, incarceration, and and homicides,” (Nye 74). The most prevalent example of this issue would be the Black Lives Matter movement. The BLM Movement draws inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, and other activist crusades, and some have labeled it as a “new civil rights movement.” In 2013, the campaign began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter after the acquittal of George Martin for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and this crusade became nationally recognized in 2014 following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. People took a moment, looked at what was happening in this country, and said enough is enough. With the power in the palm of everyone’s hands, stories of injustice and mistreatment will no longer be buried in the shadows, and international concern is growing over the blatant racism within the United States. When asked about the racist remarks from President Trump, U.N. humans rights spokesman Rupert Colville said, “These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word one can use but ‘racist.’ You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are there not welcomed,” (Reuters). How can the United States guarantee an open liberal institutional order when it is failing its own people? The truth is it can not, and other countries are starting to notice this.
As technology exposed the ugly American truth, it with the help of the 2008 financial crisis simultaneously opened a door for some countries such as China. This global financial crisis was an indicator that a new world order was in the horizon, and things were beginning to evolve. “For example, although China surpassed Germany in 2009 as the world’s largest nation in terms of volume [of exports], the Chinese are concerned that their country ‘has yet to develop into a truly strong trading country,’…” (Nye). Decades ago the Opium Wars devastated each corner of China but now this Eastern economic powerhouse has garnered international attention. China’s economy is still growing at triple the rate of the American economy, and based on Purchasing Power Parity, both the World Bank and IMF label China as the world’s largest economy. China has made a name for itself, and will no longer sit in the shadows, which scares the United States to an extent. “China is the only country widely seen as a possible threat to U.S. predominance,” (Nathan and Scobell 32), and Americans are very cognizant of this fact. The unmistakable dynamic between the United States and China has resulted in a semblance of a checks and balances system; for example, “just as Americans wonder whether China’s rise is good for the U.S. interests or represents a looming threat, Chinese policymakers puzzle over whether the United States intends to use its power to help or hurt China,” (Nathan and Scobell 33). Both the United States and China have caught a glimpse of power, but global interdependence has pushed the respective countries to maintain a level of careful cooperation because both countries need each other. “The United States is still China’s single most important market, unless one counts the European Union as a single entity. And the United States is one of China’s largest sources of foreign direct investment and advanced technology,” (Nathan and Scobell 38). The United States exercises its soft power to maintain its ranking in comparison to other countries such as China whereas China is pushing the United States into a new era. Overall, whether it is called a checks and balances system, or balance of power system the international political climate is evolving. Over a century ago, countries were knocking on each other’s doors, but now in the 21st century it’s the people knocking for help.
Technology established an unprecedented level of global interdependence that resulted in national decisions on controversial topics such as immigration falling under international scrutiny. There is no denying that there are gross injustices occurring all over the world, and sick, terrified people are running for their lives everyday. Since the establishment of this country, “America is one of the few that may avoid demographic decline and keep its share of the world population, largely as a result of immigration,” (Nye 74). By the people and for the people, is that not the American way? The United States’ approach to immigrations revels a dark, bitter, and racist history. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the recent controversy over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the United States is trapped in this deep perverse cycle. “Despite being a nation of immigrants, a recent Pew poll shows 36 percent of Americans want legal immigration to be limited. Both of the numbers and origins of new immigrants have caused concerns about immigration’s effects on American culture,” (Nye 75). This widely debated issue took center stage at the 2016 Presidential election when the now President Trump expressed his opinion over immigration. At a rally during his campaign trail, Trump reminded the people of Arizona, “We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate,” (Federal News Service). The mindset behind the current United States government seems to be to deny these people a chance before they could fathom the American dream. This country is standing at a crossroad, and technology is ensuring that every voice is heard. Stories linger on the internet of family being horrifically ripped apart because the children were born here, and the parents risked everything to come here, and heartwarming videos appear left and right of families advancing in the world. Concurrently, fingers are pointed at any and every newcomer, and the great American burden for generations of immigrants is that anything could be perceived as your fault. A perfect example of this idiocy would be the fact that a vast numbers of Americans believe immigrants are stealing their jobs, and as this debate continues, the question arises: How can the United States guarantee an open, liberal, institutional order when the anguished cries of people all over the world are falling on deaf ears? The truth is it can not, so other countries are stepping up to the plate.
The United States of America, ironically commonly referred to as the Great American melting pot, wants to build a wall in attempt to keep problems beyond our borders, but other European countries are directly addressing the exponentially rising number of refugees. On August 31, 2015 German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared “We can do this,” as Europe faced the largest refugee crisis it has seen in years. Couple of days later, Germany and Austria welcomed refugees who were stuck in Hungary, and thus Germany became the most desirable place for asylum seekers in Europe. Germany opened their arms a little too wide, and they could not cope with the rapid influx of people. Routes into Germany became less readily available as the country grappled with how to address the needs of those they already let in, but as this welcoming country tightened its borders, Angela Merkel kept the conversation about the refugees going. With such a rapid increase in population in a short period of time, Germany faced its problems adjusting to their new people, but in an effort to continue alleviating the refugee crisis, Merkel pledged 59 million dollars to the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR, or the United Nations Refugee Agency. Germany tackled this issue in a way that the United States refused to do, and while the argument could be made that this issue lies beyond our borders, global interdependence, once again, stresses the importance of addressing not only the refugee crisis but immigration as a whole. “Most countries will experience a shortage of people as the century progresses, whereas the US Census Bureau projects between 2010 and 2050, the American population will grow by 42 percent to 439 million,” (Nye 76). Although this was not the intention, European countries’ acceptance of these nationless souls in their borders plays into the balance of power system by almost preemptively preparing for the United States’ predicted population rise thus once again, the actors in the international political system stand on an even playing field.
The rise of technology has paved the way for a new world order, and the United States can no longer be considered a hegemonic power, when other countries are catching up. In other words, simultaneously countries are experiencing this transformations the political sway of the United States is declining while other countries such as China are rising. Countries like China and even India play a larger role in the international sociopolitical climate, and the United States no longer dominates the narrative. As long as the United States continues to exercise its soft power, it will continue to be a part of the new world order, and this balance of power system carves an unprecedented path for the future.
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