US Has No Hegemony to Share; China Stupid to Seek Hegemony


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry adjusts his ear phones during a joint news conference with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (not pictured) in New Delhi, India, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry adjusts his ear phones during a joint news conference with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (not pictured) in New Delhi, India, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The US is indeed the richest and militarily strongest country in the world, but it does not have world hegemony.

Why?

It is meaningless for a hegemon to have the strongest military power if it cannot use such power wisely to achieve its strategic goal.

When the US won a landslide victory in the Gulf War, it scared everyone even China. At that time, it was world hegemon. When it invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and won initial victories, it was still a world hegemon all those who opposed it dared not to openly challenge it.

However, when it kept its troops in the two countries to be killed and wounded by locals for a long time, people saw its weakness in spite of its military power and no longer regarded it as a hegemon to be feared.

The US has thus passed its golden era as the only hegemon in the world. Before American failures in the two countries, no one dare to openly challenge the US. However, when the US has shown its weakness in the two countries, ISIS dare to openly challenge the US and declare that it will attack the US.

A country is regarded as militarily strong because it is able to use its strong military wisely to achieve its strategic goal instead of its possession of the best weapons in the world.

US politicians and generals are not even able to set clear and attainable strategic goals in wars.

For example, what was US goal in invading Iraq? It made public at the beginning of its invasion that it wanted to remove Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. It succeeded in its invasion but found no such weapons and there was no need of removal. As a result, it had achieved its strategic goal with respect to weapons of mass destruction and should leave.

However, US politicians and generals changed their strategic goal into an unattainable one of establishing democracy in Iraq. Democracy can never be established by outside military force in a country without the basic foundation of democracy.

The US only succeeded in replacing Saddam Hussein’s national tyranny with regional tyrannies of various factions in Iraq. In spite of obvious failure to achieve the strategic goal of establishing democracy there, the US did not retreat but kept its troops there to be killed and wounded by Islamic extremists and allowed them to grow in strength. Those extremists set up ISIS when the US was forced to retreat.

Moreover, the wars have caused the US to be heavily in debt. The US has betrayed its financial inability in fighting wars to maintain its hegemon status.

By that time the US failures and weakness had caused it to lose its status as world hegemon though it remains the only superpower in the world.

Superpower is not the synonym of hegemon. They are two different concepts.

A country is a superpower when it is militarily and economically the strongest in the world, but it need not pursue world hegemony. Who says that a superpower must pursue hegemony? There is no such rule. Even if there is such a rule, no one is able to impose it as no one is able to tell the strongest what to do.

For example, China was a superpower in Ming Dynasty, but its most powerful fleet in the world did not attack or seize any land in any country. It instead gave gifts to all the countries its fleet visited to show a superpower’s wealth and advanced culture.

I reblogged Michael Lind’s August 21 essay “Can America Share Its Superpower Status?” in order to entertain readers as I find it really funny.

I wrote a post “America Shares Superpower Status with Others – Simply Nonsense” to further entertain readers but seems not able to make readers enjoy the fun fully.

To make further fun, I have to point out here that the writer has confused the concept of superpower with hegemon. The US is the only superpower economically and militarily in the world now but not a hegemon as it lacks the wisdom to pursue hegemony.

The question Michael Lind actually asks is: Can America share its hegemony status? It is not the question “Can America Share Its Superpower Status?” that is simply nonsense.

I have pointed above that the US has no hegemony status now. How can the US share with others what it does not have?

Michael Lind must be sick with hegemony syndrome to be so obsessed with hegemony.

China will become an economic superpower as it wants its people to have the highest living standards. Due to its largest population, its economy will grow much larger than the US.

It must build up its military to be able to resist another country’s bully.

The US tried to impose the Hague arbitration ruling by force when it sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to China’s vicinity to scare China. At that time, its top admiral even said that China must be aware what such deployment meant.

If China had not had grown militarily strong enough, it would have been scared. However, China knows how to defend itself. It has no need to be as powerful militarily as the US to defend itself. With much smaller resources, it can exploit its geographical advantages to resist US attack.

China conducted large-scale military drills before and after the ruling and is now conducting regular combat patrol of its air force to safeguard its historical rights and interests in the South China Sea.

China’s resolution to fight to defend its interests and rights instead has scared the US who regards itself as but is actually not the only hegemon in the world. Now, according to Reuters report today titled “Kerry says no military solution to South China Sea dispute”, the US hopes that China will not resolve the disputes by force as the US will not fight for the Philippines if China takes back by force the islands and reefs occupied by the Philippines but claimed by China.

The role of world hegemon is a hard job. The US spends US$100 billion every year to protect its allies. That is quite a heavy financial burden. That is nothing compared with US very large military budget to maintain its top military strength that it does not know how to use wisely.

Shall China take such burdens to pursue American type of hegemony? Never. Therefore, China shall not share US world hegemony even if the US really has such hegemony and wants to share because it is stupid to pursue such hegemony.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Michael Lind’s essay “Can America Share Its Superpower Status?” and Reuters report “Kerry says no military solution to South China Sea dispute”. Full text of the former was reblogged in my post yesterday while that of the latter can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-ruling-kerry-idUSKCN1160QV

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7 Comments on “US Has No Hegemony to Share; China Stupid to Seek Hegemony”

  1. Joseph says:

    Ming Naval Fleet did attack overseas targets. When the Portuguese attacked and seized the port of Malaka, the sultan of Malaka sought assistance from the Ming court. And the Ming Emperor Zhengde assembled a large naval fleet not seen since Zhenghe to attack the Portuguese in Malaka. There was practically nothing heard of the Portuguese anymore as if they were erased from the history of European conquest of SE Asia, perhaps because of their defeat. The Ming fleet gave Malaka back to the sultan who swore allegiance to the Ming court and sent tributes every year as thanks, until Ming’s demise a century later. No European power dared to touch Malaka until then. And the region thrived to become a trading paradise. This kind of thing is what the people in the region. A responsible power showing its might for benevolence and prosperity. Not aggressive warmongers who seek to force us to fight upon ourselves and set the region as fiery hell. The Westerners, of course, try to hide this fact for their pivot to Asia, as it contradicts their ‘China is aggressive’ propaganda. In fact it is the Westerners who have proven aggressive and irresponsible time and again. Since the age colonization, to the present day age of neo exploitation. It was all about hegemony, about control, not cooperation. But the question should not be about American, British and other Western hegemonies. As non-aggressive people, we do not seek hegemony, we never think about seeking hegemony. But in light of Western aggressive posture to seek hegemony in our region, we should think like them too, we should seek hegemonies in Europe. Imagine, Asian hegemonies carved across Europe. We are always forced to serve Western interest. Isn’t it time that they are made to serve our interest.

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    • Sentinel says:

      Interesting. Malaysian history books for the last 60+ years omitted to mention the kind of help the Ming Emperor gave to the Sultan of Malacca : That the Malaccan sultanate benefited from China’s intervention against the Portuguese colonializers.

      Looks like two generations of Malaysians have been miseducated by its government.

      Not dissimilar to how the Americans, Australians, Belgians, French, and Japanese educate their children by omitting or grossly downplay mention of genocides committed by their grandparents and/or great grandparents, from their history books?

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      • Joseph says:

        I, too, found out this fact quite recently. And I found Wikipedia entry for this as well. Who knows who wrote it. Being brought up in a Chinese-hostile, pro-American regimes, we were taught how minor the Chinese contributions were to the region. The Chinese was reduced to a bunch of selfish traders and immigrants who brought along minor cultural influence, the way the Chinese American immigrants brought fried rice and dimsum to America. All we knew about the Chinese deeds was from the murky old folk stories. But with the renaissance about anything Chinese recently, we have been discovering many things about the how important the Chinese to the region that had been suppressed. Before, it was only old folk stories with lots of missing details such as the Legend of Hang Tuah who got famous because he was honored by the Chinese court, the Voyage of Chengho/Zhenghe, among others. Now many details emerged. Ming’s lost expedition against the Portuguese in Malaka did explain the blank gap in the history between the time line Portuguese/Spanish early conquest of SE Asia to the later Dutch/British conquest which ‘coincidentally’ took place after the demise of Ming Empire. The absence of the Ming Empire ensured smooth way for Western colonizations of SE Asia. Ming successor, the Manchu Qing Dynasty itself paid a very high price for ignoring Western threat; defeat, humiliation and ultimate demise. This is actually a quite logical explanation why the Westerner tries so hard to prevent the rise of the new Chinese empire with strong naval tradition. It will be a threat to them, not the region. It will be the end of the hegemony they painfully coveted so much.

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        • Sentinel says:

          I thought it rather strange in my younger days to read that the Malacca Sultan went to seek the Emperor of China’s help against the Portuguese and Thailand but failed subsequently to say what kind of help was given. The question did arise in my mind .. what did the Chinese did that made the Sultan so grateful? Why was there a blank in the history books about generally? I had forgotten about this until you brought it up saying what I wanted to know. Jolly good show. Keep the interesting info flowing, old chap.

          There MUST be some evidence or testimonies about Emperor Zhude’s naval expedition against the Portuguese somewhere. The West likes to downplay or censor Chinese achievements but like to hype theirs even when plagiarising Chinese acheivements or discoveries. Only now, the truths are starting to emerge.

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  2. Simon says:

    Military might wins friends and respect. It is plain and simple.
    China’s reward for not abiding the illegal PCA backed by Washington, and meets American naval threat wiith its own show of force had won over American ally Canada to join China’s AIIB against America’s objection.
    The AIIB must be lead by a country with global clout and that include military strength that can guarantee security and stability in the Asia Pacific. You don’t get those guarantee if you abide by the illegal PCA and kow tow to Washington militarily.

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  3. Steve says:

    Status Vs Partnerships as in Economy, Military alliance or Diplomacy.

    To my understanding, a Status is an achievement, ranking or position of a person, entity or nation. Examples: Someone who has achieved a University Bachelors Degree, Masters or PHD is an achievement status. An entity like a bank with AA+ ranking is a position denoting the most favourable financial standing.

    Similarly, a Nation’s Superpower Status is an acknowledgement of the country’s performance capacity in Political, Economics, Social, Education, Military, Infrastructure, Science & Technology, alleviation of poverty, etc. It has nothing to do of being a Hegemon.

    In short, a Status is an Ownership and Recognition. A Partnership is a shared commitment as in SCO, BRICS, AIIB, NATO, EU, ASEAN, etc. within the framework of Military alliances, Economic relations, Financial, R & D in Science and Technology, Infrastructure, etc.

    Superpower Status Vs Superpower Partnerships. One is owned, the other shared. A Nation’s Hegemonic Status is a completely separate issue based on pure Greed and Corruption.

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  4. course correction says:

    America lies…all the time. They claim to invade Iraq because of WMD and then to establish democracy. Both of these are a joke. Two of their best friends are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both of these places violate international law, stomp on human rights, etc all the time. Why no invasion or humanitarian intervention?

    The real reason America invaded Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries [see seven countries in five years on youtube] is to protect its super scam – the petrodollar, without which, they would become poor rapidly.

    Why did they stay? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the Heartland Theory and/or containment of China.

    America has always only cared about one thing, full spectrum dominance. You can read or listen to Paul Craig Roberts an ex-senior official of the US government.

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