The Instigator
ishamael_89
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
killa_connor
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

The Collapse of US Hegemony is Imminent

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,017 times Debate No: 472
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (13)

 

ishamael_89

Pro

I maintain that US hegemony, which has been the single norm in the international system since the collapse of the Soviet Union is in its twilight and will soon collapse unless certain policies--specifically economic policies--are changed.

First, the US has been one of the primary agents in international action since the end of the Second World War, and in the time period since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been the single most influential actor in the international system. This to me seems to be rather apparent.

In the time since, however, without a single significant threat, the US role as the world leader has undergone a systematic collapse abetted both by the rise of two significant counter-balancers as well as the steady decline of American economic prowess.

Firstly, there are two significant challengers in the modern world, namely the European Union and the People's Republic of China. Each has a significant advantage economically, which cannot be ignored as a crucial part in the international system.

The European Union since the Maastricht Treaty has developed the Euro which is growing significantly and has easily surpassed the free-falling dollar. The Euro currently is worth $1.44, and in some countries has replaced the dollar as the standard for international conversions. Also, the EU has the stability of several well developed countries, including but not limited to Germany, France and the United Kingdom. In past years there were calls for a European Constitution, and if this should become reality in the future there is little doubt that the newly formed confederacy would easily surpass the United States economically, and also most likely in terms of international influence.

The PRC has managed to achieve what many once thought impossible, to combine relative economic freedom with a communist political system. Internationally, China is one of the leading trade partners of several countries, specifically the US, but also trading enough to help stabalize the Sudanese and Iranian regimes, despite US efforts to sanction both of these regimes. The US currently has a trade deficit of over 200 billion dollars, which makes up more than a quarter of the US trade deficit. In addition, China has funded almost the entirety of the Iraq War, a debt which could be recalled at any time to essentially bankrupt the once invincible US economy.

In addition to economic dominance, the PRC also has one of the largest militaries in the world. Although this is partly due to the PRCs population, it cannot be ignored. Other countries have larger militaries than the US in total soldiers, but China is one of the few countries to have both a larger military and significant technological abilities. This makes the Chinese a military threat unlike any the US has ever faced--and given the fact that China too has a significant amount of nuclear weapons this common deterrance is ineffective with the Chinese military.

My contention is not that US hegemony is undesirable, but rather that in the current system it is being surpassed by both the EU and the PRC. With every dollar that we "spend" in Iraq we fall greater and greater into debt, and the EU and PRC continue to take advantage of this. Unless the dollar undergoes a renaissance of unprecedented proportions, the collapse of the unipolar system is imminent--indeed it may already have occurred.
killa_connor

Con

Ishamael - I agree with your underlying logic and subsequent conclusion that the United States will inevitably be weakened on the global level which threatens their hegemonic dominance over the rest of the world. This is consistent and characterizes all of history from the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to the collapse of the British Empire. Ultimately, I disagree with both your claim that this "collapse" is imminent and your definition of a hegemon (you speak of "hegemons" like the European Union - which in reality comprises a collection of nation states strung together through a series of treaties rather then a single powerful hegemon) and the false dichotomy you have created as a result of this inclusive definition of a hegemon.

Let's begin by defining a few important terms:
Dictionary.com defines a hegemony as : Leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others.

It defines a nation as : A state or a politically organized body of people under a single government

Also, for the purposes of this debate I would like to define "imminent" as any time span between 1-10 years. I think this is important when framing this discussion because no one with even a basic grasp of world history could possibly contend that the US Hegemony is somehow infinite.

I also find your gauge for assessing a nation's power to be faulty. You point out that the Euro is now worth 1.44$, but is this really reflective of all the characteristics that define a hegemon? I'd like to contend that a far more accurate and telling gauge for such an assumption would be a country's GNP or Gross National Product. The Gross National Product is the total dollar value of all final goods and services produced for consumption in global society during a particular time period.

GNP %of global GDP %of world pop.
USA$10,533 32.9% 4.65%
Japan$4,852 13.4% 2.09%
Germany$2,242 6.0% 1.36%
Britain$1,544 4.6% 0.99%
France$1,543 4.2% 0.97%
China$1,329 3.7% 20.84%

You also mention China's recent military developments and total population as a threat to the American military's position of power. I just wanted to supply some statistics so that we both have a clearer idea of what you're arguing. In 2006, China's military spending amounted to a staggering 35 billion dollars, but ultimately this is dwarfed by the United States' 571 billion dollar investment. This means that China's recent military spending still only amounts to just over 5% of the American military budget. Not to mention that the United States has spent trillions and trillions since the Cold War and still sits on a nuclear arsenal that could wipe out Earth pretty easily.

I double checked these numbers but here are the sources I used:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn...

http://www.globalissues.org...

I think it's also important to acknowledge that the onset of Globalization and the emergence of an international marketplace plays an enormous role in this debate. People often see outsourcing and globalization as an eroding force to the economy and power of the United States. This is simply not true. When American companies choose to outsource jobs to cheaper workers in third world countries they increase their profit margins dramatically and although this is a sleezy business maneuver that could cause some Americans to lose their jobs, it will undoubtedly result in an increased revenue which more then offsets the national economic ramifications of the Americans who lose their jobs.

For your next response I hope we can discuss how you define, "imminent" and what particular events on the international system level you predict will cause such a dramatic American collapse. I'd also like to here whether a hypothetical "North American Union", between the US, Canada, Mexico, and some Central American countries, could constitute a hegemon. If so, would this constitute a preservation of an American hegemon? I think overall your arguments suffers from the assumption that there will be hegemons in the future to replace the United States which I sincerely doubt. We are moving towards a global community where a single hegemonic state cannot cooperatively coexist with the rest of the world.

thanks for the debate topic!
-connor
Debate Round No. 1
ishamael_89

Pro

Connor-

I'm glad that we have the ability to have an intelligent discussion over this issue—most debates on this topic I have entered simply reverted into "YOU'RE INSULTING AMERICA! PATRIOTISM IS GOOD!" I also agree with the vast majority of your logic, I just find that your argument fails to look deep enough that it directly refutes mine.

Firstly, you rightly point out the need for definitions so that we do not end up arguing past each other. Your first argument is about what timeframe "imminent" has—this I will approach later in my argument, as it deserves a much larger answer. Next, you bring up the definition of hegemony which usefully has the term "nation" in it. This you use to reject my interpretation of the EU in that the EU is in fact a collection of nations. My response to this, in part, answers one of your expectations for my response, and that is what changes I predict to occur.

One major change I see is that given the rapid success of the European Union, that a great many more such unions could occur. I do not predict where, although a "Asian Union" (ASEAN has too narrow of a scope for me to currently count it as such) would not surprise me. I also believe that the EU, partially given the fear of terrorism which has international implications, specifically given the London and Spain bombings of the past several years, could look to develop a more coordinated defense effort, which undoubtedly would move it closer to the definition of a state (or nation).

Historically the international political system has been dominated by states, and this is perhaps the defining point of the Westphalian system, yet the question becomes, how do we define a "State"? Some of the earliest criteria have been A) the development of a military/self defense force, B) the development of a stable economic system, and C) sovereignty within its domains.

The EU currently meets criteria B to a large extent, and even has its own peacekeeping force donated from member countries. This, to a limited extent, qualifies them for A as well. Further, as I mentioned in my previous argument, I find that the development of a constitution, which I find to be inevitable despite its stalled status currently, would make the EU much more qualifying of nation state status than any international organization in the history of time. If an EU constitution would occur it would likely create a confederacy, rather than a loose agreement, which it is now.

So, in short, I believe that EU currently meets some standards to be considered a nation state, and that it will continue to develop in that direction. I also believe that the international system will not be dominated by states in the traditional sense, but rather that the definition of state and nation will be altered to include such things as the EU. I would also like to point out that your definition of nation makes room for: "politically organized body of people under a single government." The EU undoubtedly is a politically organized body of people—or at least states—and with a constitution I would maintain that it would indeed be under a single government.

Now to define imminent. This is a definition which is incredibly difficult to find an accurate representation of. Dictionary definitions offer mere rhetoric, "impending" (Dictionary.com, the most accurate of all dictionaries!!! ;) ) For this reason, it can be the defining point of this debate. I suggest that a term of 20 years be used for the definition of imminent, for a couple reasons. First, that means that it is 1% of the two millennia since the end of the BC era. Secondly, it assures that the US will have several people at its helm—in a 10 year definition has the possibility to be dominated by one president for 80%, and the second president would only have 2 years with which to work. 20 years would give the ability for at least 3 full term presidents to lead the US. Finally, 20 years is the span of a generation. I believe that in the terms of historical developments, one generation is clearly quite rapid.

Now, to address your attacks upon my arguments, rather than semantics. You point out the importance of GNP to a countries overall economic stability, and I would agree that overall GNP is a MUCH better way to way to determine current status as a hegemonic power. However, your statistics have two major flaws. First, it only addresses the current system, whereas the strength of currency reflects the current trend. I am not sure whether you are a sports person, but an analogy would be to go back to the first meeting of Boston College and Virginia Tech. A snapshot of the scoreboard with 3 minutes remaining would show Virginia Tech in clear control. This is the equivalent of looking at the current system of GNP. The drive summary, however, would show that Boston College was going down the field to score a touchdown on a drive that started inside the 10 yard line—that would be the currency equivalent. While at that moment in time the US, or Virginia Tech in the analogy, was in clear control, but it was slowly escaping their grasp.

The second flaw is that in your statistics for GNP you do not display the information for the EU as a whole, which is a main focus of that section of my argument. Checking the CIA world factbook I discovered why. The EU has more GDP (purchasing power parity) than any other body in the world. Yes, that does include the US.

Also, you have absolutely no response to my argument that China controls the US economy currently. The US has a massive trade deficit to China, and is in massive debt to the country which has essentially taken on full payment of the Iraq War—and continued to grow at nearly unprecedented levels. Indeed many analysts believe that China will surpass the US economy by 2020—a time difference well within the 20 year timeframe I laid out earlier.

Now to address your response to China's military power. Certainly the US spends more money upon its military than anyone else—I do not have the exact statistic but I believe it is more than the next 11 countries combined. The converse of course is that China has more people than any country. Also, we recently have seen a couple things. Firstly, that technology can not simply replace boots on the ground, which gives China's military a distinct advantage in that they have both a high level of technology as well as the people with which to work. Also, the US seems to be suffering from a contemporary military-industrial complex, which is causing the increasing worry about American military prowess to devastate itself economically. And although you are correct about the American nuclear arsenal being that devastating, China also has equivalent technology, making that point essentially void.

Next you talk about globalization, but I fail to see how this is relevant, and I will await clarification before I respond.

Finally you ask whether a North American Union would constitute a hegemon and preserve American hegemony. I do believe that such a Union could prove to be very beneficial to the US and that it would constitute a major power in the international system, but an underlying assumption of your question is that it is possible for several hegemons to occur at once, a theory with which I disagree. I maintain that a collapse of unipolarity constitutes a collapse of hegemony. A world in which there are multiple "hegemons" constitutes a world without a hegemon.

I hope that in your response you can firstly clarify what point you wished to make with your discussion on globalization so that I can respond, and also that you can continue discussion on the definition of the term imminent. Finally, I hope that you can point out which factors in the international system you find pointing to the stability of American hegemony.

--ishamael
killa_connor

Con

Great response!

We agree that a hegemony is characterized by one nation (state) exercising significant political and economic influence over other nations. However, we disagree on the characterization of the EU as a nation state and the role it plays on the system level of global politics. I actually agree with your criteria used to define a nation state, I just think you incorrectly implemented it in the case of the EU. Lets take another look at your criteria:

1.)The development of a military/self defense force - This is your big slip-up. There is no "EU Army" in existence. The autonomy of the EU and its ability to build an effective military is non-existent because they are powers that are exclusively found in a constitution (which does not exist for the EU!). Most of the EU relies on the military strength of NATO, which, as you know, is primarily American military. This applies to this debate directly because a defining characteristic of a hegemon is its military and you have yet to provide a country who comes remotely close to competing with the American military.

2.)The development of a stable economic system - I think EU does in fact fulfill this criteria, but I'd like to remind you that there is no "EU GNP" rather the sum of the GNPs of the states included in the EU. Even, when the sum of the EU is compared to the US, the US still has 40% more purchasing power!!! which should outright refute your assertion that the EU combined is somehow more powerful then the US. The main reason the US is richer is, first of all, because a higher proportion of Americans are in employment and, secondly, they work about 20% more hours per year than Europeans(http://www.taurillon.org...).

3.)Sovereignty within its domains - You admit that the EU does not fulfill this criteria because without a constitution the EU is unable to claim any sovereignty over the domestic or international policy of any of its contributing members. Ultimately, this kind of autonomy is granted exclusively to the nation state's government. Even when speculating towards the future of global politics, there is unlikely to be the merger of all 27 countries to form one sovereign nation state because of the economic redistribution ramifications and the loss of a national identity will undoubtedly fuel considerable opposition.

Your assumption that the EU is a nation state is incorrect because it fails 2/3 of the criteria you supplied. Finally, the assumption that the formation of an EU constitution is imminent is premature and naive. I will concede that a European Union Constitution is inevitable but it is not within 10-20 years and it is certainly not granting the kind of sovereignty to the EU that you are expecting. The EU is certainly an early indication of the "global village" phenomenon but you wrongfully assume that a complete overhaul of the nation-state system that has existed for the past 1000 years is going to occur within a generation.

"I would also like to point out that your definition of nation makes room for: "politically organized body of people under a single government." The EU undoubtedly is a politically organized body of people—or at least states—and with a constitution I would maintain that it would indeed be under a single government." - Round 2

Perhaps the EU has some semblance of political organization in treaty form, but it is certainly not organized under a single government with any measurable autonomy which is fundamental to a nation.

I will permit your 20 year estimate for imminent but I think it is stretching it. Partly, because although human civilization has been around for roughly 2000 years the United States political presence is only 230 years old! Which means your allowing nearly 10% of it's lifetime to qualify as imminent. A bit of a stretch if you ask me.

Enough with the EU. Lets talk about China.
You rightfully point out that I forgot to address your argument regarding China's investment in America and vise-versa and them "floating the bill" for the Iraq war. This is something an economists would have an easier time explaining but when a country takes a loan from another country it comes in the form of bonds that other countries purchase from the United States. Ironically, it is the EU which, together with China and Japan, continues to lend the money to the US which keeps our households spending and our economy growing. Now, you are correct in your point that these countries could have a measurable impact on the American economy if they chose not to loan the United States money. BUT. You are mistaken if you think this would ever happen. It is because of the power of John Locke's Commercial Liberalism. China has made a significant investment in American success (or how are they going to get their money back!?!). The economic ramifications of China with-holding loans from the United States would be a huge detriment to China's own economic growth. So in reality, the Chinese and American economies are intricately linked which means that Chinese economic growth is limited to some degree by American success. A good economy to be linked to if you ask me. A link that is only strengthened by the fact that we are the most desired market in the world because of our constituents relatively high incomes.

Your claim that the Chinese economy will surpass the American economy would be true if we lived in a world where economic development have no social implications. This is not the case. When a country gains an "economic foothold" , social and humanitarian pressures quickly ensue. A key contributor to China's manufacturing power is the fact that they have an enormous labor force that (thanks to a deplorable lack of worker's rights) works for very cheap. With economic development, labor unions will form and worker/human rights advocates will emerge. To avoid a civil backlash the government will enact laws enforcing minimum wages and worker welfare laws. This is a very observable phenomenon that has occurred in this country a long with all other world powers. The emergence of worker rights will slow this pace of economic development to a rate similar to that of the US.

Finally, let me continue to assert that the Chinese military does not compare to the magnitude of the American military. You concede that the American budget is 15 times greater then that of the Chinese but you reconcile this with the fact that the Chinese have greater man-power:
"The converse of course is that China has more people than any country. Also, we recently have seen a couple things. Firstly, that technology can not simply replace boots on the ground, which gives China's military a distinct advantage in that they have both a high level of technology as well as the people with which to work." - Round 2

Technology absolutely can replace "boots on the ground". I think this is a silly point to make because with the dawn of the nuclear age we find that one technologically advanced weapon has the potential to wipe out 100,000s of people. Its scary but true. The old ways of measuring military strength (i.e. troops/army size) are now a thing of the past. Technology and military development spending is what matters now. And on this level China cannot compete with the United States.

I'm going to end by further explaining my comments about Globalization. Globalization serves as a means for the advancement of new foreign markets and new unexplored venues for revenue. The other role it has, is its ability to preserve the economic powers that control and fuel the system. This may seem like a Marxist observation, but it's true. Globalization rewards its greatest participants which would undoubtedly be the United States. Globalization is capitalism. Capitalism rewards those on the top disproportionately which is an important preserving factor to the American hegemony.
Debate Round No. 2
ishamael_89

Pro

**First, a word to those who will be voting on this debate, if you read no other posts, this is the one you need to read, I will aim to summarize this entire debate and place a claim as to why I believe you need to vote pro. The next paragraph will create the general overview, which will carry down into each specific argument. I will star those paragraphs which I believe are most important for the voters.

**Connor, despite your great response, you make a crucial strategic mistake by conceding the definition of hegemony as unipolarity. At the point where hegemony MUST be unipolar by definition, so long as the voters believe that the EU or China will BALANCE or EQUAL the US, they believe that hegemony will be lost. This means that I do not have to prove that either China or the EU will become hegemonic, nor that the US will collapse into oblivion, but merely that the US will share the international spotlight. Now to carry this analysis on, first to the EU.

First, I will defend the EU as a nation-state. You attack the EU on points 1 and 3 in the previous post, but both of these are irrelevant if the EU forms a constitution, so essentially if I can prove that a constitution will occur during the next 20 years, I prove that the EU is a nation-state.

However, I also believe that in the CURRENT system the EU at least partially meets point 1, in that they currently have several peacekeeping forces already deployed, and have a general self-defense agreement to come to one-another's aid should an attack occur; so while they do not have an offensive military of their very own, they do have a defensive force—this is very similar to the situation in Japan which we can both agree is a nation-state. Further, the EU does in fact have an autonomous military body—60,000 troops so far, as per the Helsinki Headline Goal. And none of the above forces come from the US as you purported.

Now to the discussion on the constitution. It is obvious that almost all members of the EU desire a constitution, indeed in the previous discussions to form the constitution there was a large consensus and agreement for the vast majority of the clauses. In the near future as eastern Europe grows more economically stable and Germany, France, and Britain grow more dependent upon the cooperative EU the constitution must occur. Also, the French and Dutch populaces were the only ones who rejected the previous constitution. Currently, however, the EU is one of the most popular organizations in Europe, and were the constitution to be tried again I have little doubt that it would pass. Also there is a good deal of autonomy within the EU, otherwise the Euro would have been unable to have the success it has had.

**Finally, it is time to discuss the real meat of the European Union discussion—its economic influence and the impact that will have upon the United States. "Even, when the sum of the EU is compared to the US, the US still has 40% more purchasing power!!! which should outright refute your assertion that the EU combined is somehow more powerful then the US." (Round 2) Ummm, check your facts bud. CIA World Factbook gives the EU its own section in which its GDP Purchasing Power is number 1 in the world, more than the US. https://www.cia.gov...
Also note that China is 3rd in the world, and clearly rising.

**The next argument you make is that American are richer because they work more. This makes absolutely no sense. I still don't understand where you are coming from with that. In fact, I would put a different spin on that. The lower employment in the European Union simply means that it is not reaching its full potential. Once the EU has dealt with the level of unemployment its growth will merely increase more. You also concede that the EU has a better growth than the US (which I maintained in my argument regarding currency), so after the EU has dealt with that they will basically destroy the US economy in every form. Further, you also forgot to look to the conclusion of that article you cited. Sure, it says that Americans are richer because of better employment when it is discussing why America MIGHT have the better economy. The conclusion, however, of the article after comparing both is that, "The most important feature of the comparison is... that US growth, unlike that in the EU, is funded by a dangerously high mountain of foreign debt." So while currently the EU's current advantage in growth is offset by the US's better employment, this simply means that the EU has more room for future growth, and that the US's current growth is unstable due to the large amount of foreign debt.

**What a useful note to transition on—lets talk China's economy shall we? Okay, you do a good job of explaining what is going on when China is "floating the bill" for the Iraq War, but my argument is directed at your analysis off of it. While it is true that the economies are inextricably linked, you misapply the source. Because during this time AMERICA is in debt, their economic growth is severely limited by Chinese success, rather than the other way around. If the Chinese economy begins to fail, China can withcall all of its loans to the US—at which point the US is given the option either to pay up or admit bankruptcy. Either one of which would DEVASTATE the US economy. So if you maintain that China's economy is approaching collapse, US hegemony will in turn be demolished when China calls for its loans. That is scenario 1. Scenario 2, and the US's best hope is that China's growth remains intact, for then the US can repay the loans as possible, rather than all at once. But in this view the US economic growth will be hampered merely because it must pay out a great deal of money to one of its main competitors, China. By this time (again we must assume that China's growth remains stable or scenario 1 occurs) China will be using this gained money to at least equal, if not surpass the US by 2020. So either the Chinese government begins to fall, and chooses to drag down America with it, or the Chinese government overpasses the US due to the massive amount of foreign debt accumulated by the American government—either scenario leads to a collapse of American Hegemony, especially given the power of the EU economically. (See Above)

Your next point about the Chinese Economy must slow due to rights is essentially is outweighed by the significance of the debt--see above, and also because only slowing the US economy is necessary. Even if the Chinese economy does slow, it will also slow the US's growth to a level where the EU will overpass it, eliminating Hegemony as per my initial analysis.

**The final point is the military. First, even if you win that the US has a significant military advantage, you will still lose the debate because of the economic component of hegemony. Essentially, you must win that the US will maintain both economic and military hegemony over ALL OTHERS in order for them to maintain the unipolarity necessary for hegemony. Further, if the US economy falters (see above) it cannot afford to spend the same amount on the military that it is now. BUT, you argue that tech can replace people. First, Iraq empirically proves this false, we have the tech just not the people. Nuclear weapons, furthermore, are useless in a world where everyone has them because of the principle of mutually assured destruction. We cant nuke Beijing unless we want a mushroom over DC too. Tech is important, but troops are just as important in todays world.

Finally, I agree with your contention regarding globalization (No, I won't call you marxist), but I respond with two points. First, globalization benefits those on top, which include the EU and China, so this is void. Second, China and the EU are just as involved globally as the US. Look to Africa where China is often MORE involved than the US.
killa_connor

Con

A great final round! You have a well outlined argument that is easy to follow. Let's see what I can do:
"At the point where hegemony MUST be unipolar by definition, so long as the voters believe that the EU or China will BALANCE or EQUAL the US, they believe that hegemony will be lost." -Round 3

Ah not true! If the voters think that the EU and China will equal the United States within the next twenty years they agree with you. *****The whole point of my argue was not argue that the American hegemony will be lost (because it inevitably will) but instead that because of preserving forces such as, globalization, superior military capabilities, and a massive GNP that is still growing, the American hegemony will be preserved for a while (20 years). Also, it's important to note that even in order for China or the EU to even balance the United States they would have to become characteristic of a hegemon as defined in Round 1. Whether or not the international system becomes multipolar is irrelevent, it will take a country of hegemonic proportions to dismantle the United States' unipolar control.

"if I can prove that a constitution will occur during the next 20 years, I prove that the EU is a nation-state. "

This is a problematic argument because how do you know that the constitution will grant the EU any significant autonomy? How do you know it would grant the kind of military capabilities required to compete with an American hegemon? What I'm suggesting is that any constitution drafted within the next twenty years is unlikely to be drastic or widespread enough to suddenly turn the EU into a nation state. There are also soooo many opposing forces to this kind of development: National identity would be infringed, state's sovereignty would be comprimised (nation states generally dont like to give away their political autonomy freely), and economic redistribution would undoubtedly fuel some affluent opposition. Also, just the fact that the EU will incorporate the agendas of a multitude of countries with a variety of cultures has to inhibit it's ability to have one country exercise any considerable influence over the international community.

"However, I also believe that in the CURRENT system the EU at least partially meets point 1, in that they currently have several peacekeeping forces already deployed"

I find this argument unconvincing because "peace-keeping forces" barely constitutes a national army. I know you're trying to argue that this peace-keeping force would somehow constitute a national army and qualify them as a nation state, but I don't think this is an honest argument because in round 2 we agreed on criteria that assumed the military would fulfill the conventional role of an army. Peace-keeping forces aren't even suppose to fire their weapons! Keep in mind, this national army would still have to at least compete with the United States military. And I fail to see how the EU or the Chinese or indeed the military capabilities of the entire world would pose a significant threat to the United States. We spend over a half trillion dollars every year! Thats more then national economic activity for most countries in the world!

Your arguments regarding EU's GDP and potential purchasing power are convincing but we appear to have contradicting data! Taurillion.org is an "online community of Euro citizens" and its the source I used when I claimed that the United States has 40% more purchasing power and although you claim this fact is wrong you proceed to use the Taurillion arguments to claim that Europe's unemployment is actually helping them dismantle the American hegemony! You can't have it both ways! Either you discredit the source or you cite it. You have done both, but I urge the voters to read it for themselves (http://www.taurillon.org...).

"The EU was meant to bring us a golden future, but instead it has brought us stagnation, unemployment and social discontent has become a familiar refrain. What is worse, lest we abandon our relentless pessimism, our eternally optimistic American friends excel at reminding us that they are richer, enjoy faster growth with lower unemployment and are generally better off in every way." -Taurillion.org

I wanted to include this quote because I think your conclusion that "It is obvious that almost all members of the EU desire a constitution" is a dangerous blanket statement. There are plenty of opposing forces to the EU. I discussed some of them in the above paragraph but the debate over EU's power and role is heated and ongoing and is likely to continue for years to come.

China Time!

"If the Chinese economy begins to fail, China can withcall all of its loans to the US—at which point the US is given the option either to pay up or admit bankruptcy."

There are conditions to loans! The United States agrees to payback the loan over a period of time at a certain rate. The Chinese government cant simply demand that every penny be paid back on a whim because 1.) this would devastate the Chinese economy even more... the whole American market would be paralyzed. 2.) It's not part of the loan's conditions! Take for example, when a bank makes a loan to you. You establish a payment plan and make payments accordingly. If the bank were to fail, it doesn't mean they have the right to "demand" that their money be given back immediately. In the case of the US and China, such demands would fall on deaf ears because the Chinese military is incapable of forcing such payments from the United States. It's like what Teddy Roosevelt always said, "Tread softly but carry a big stick." Compliance on the international level depends on a nation state's ability to command that respect and cooperation.

"But in this view the US economic growth will be hampered merely because it must pay out a great deal of money to one of its main competitors, China."

I think this is where you misunderstand my argument. American economic growth is dependent upon these kinds of foreign investments! The primary reason for our times of unprecedented economic growth is because we have chosen to use foreign loans and allow other countries to invest in our success. That allows us to greatly enhance our purchasing power and promote economic growth with the surplus. So your main point against me is, ironically, my main point for the preservation of American unipolarity. Is that a word? I dont know. But lets all remember that "debt" is not a new phenomenon for the United States. I bet that for your entire life the United States has been in debt. I would even predict that for the entire life of your parents the US has been in debt. Debt does not mean weakness. It has become integral to our economic growth and we shouldn't equate the presence of debt to any collapse of a hegemony.

"The final point is the military. First, even if you win that the US has a significant military advantage, you will still lose the debate because of the economic component of hegemony."

I don't know if I can agree with this. Adolf Hitler's Germany had a much smaller economy then France but because he applied an isolationist policy and turned his country into a factory he managed to build an army that dominated richer countries. I do not concede to losing the economic component of this debate because I am still unconvinced that there is any nation state that will balance the American hegemony. EU is not a nation state but rather a treaty agreed upon by many different countries and China is growing at an alarming rate but due to social and economic pressures that are inherent with emerging world powers, the Chinese economy will slow which will not result in an IMMINENT threat to American hegemony.

Thanks for the debate ishamel - its been a lot of fun and don't hesitate to challenge me sometime!

-connor

PS Voters click the "X" next to Con. I've programmed the button to spit candy out of the monitor onto your keyboar
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
Wow...................... sweet.

Back and forth
Posted by ishamael_89 9 years ago
ishamael_89
NO!!!!!!!!!! THE BALANCE HAS BEEN REGAINED!
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
Noooooooo! The balance has been tipped!
Posted by ishamael_89 9 years ago
ishamael_89
I most certainly agree Connor, a tie is deserved. :)

Feel free to challenge me at any time!
-Ishamael
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
I feel like a tie is the most appropriate ending for this debate. It was a pleasure Ishmael!
Posted by Felix_Karloff 9 years ago
Felix_Karloff
I apologize. I am very sick right now. I did not mean "substantialize", I meant substantiated.
Posted by Felix_Karloff 9 years ago
Felix_Karloff
This is the first debate I have seen that has real substance and a respectable collection of arguments substantialized using statistics.
Posted by ishamael_89 9 years ago
ishamael_89
Hey Connor, I had to shorten my post due to character limits, so if there are any of my points you would like me to clarify, just leave a comment here and I will respond with another comment. Thank you very much for the debate though!
--Ishamael
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
thanks felix! That 4.3%, 2.7%, and 1.3% statistic was exactly what I was looking for to use in this debate because everyone seems to celebrate the seeming empowerment of the third world through globalization but really I think its representative of an inherently vicious capitalistic cycle.

But whether I would call myself a Marxist is another question altogether haha.
Posted by Felix_Karloff 9 years ago
Felix_Karloff
Interesting. The USSR and the cold war justified a great deal of the capital investments in the USA. This helped with the avoidance of any long term "currency crisis". This is no longer there but the USA nevertheless has maintained its global economic dominance through its involvement in foreign markets. Ever since the rise of american imperialism and colonialism and the rise of Multi-National Corporations, the US economy has found methods of avoiding currency crisis and the surplus production associated with increased increased capital concentration.
It is also quite clear that the economic power of the USA is intimately connected with the fate of many second and third world nations. Without a doubt, a decline in the US economy will probably be preceeded by a decline in foreign economies dependent upon US capital and purchases. The fact that everytime the USA goes into a recession the OPEC nations are forced to drop prices and incur losses is a superior example of this.

"This may seem like a Marxist observation, but it's true. Globalization rewards its greatest participants which would undoubtedly be the United States. Globalization is capitalism. Capitalism rewards those on the top disproportionately which is an important preserving factor to the American hegemony."
Do not be apologetic. The marxist interpretation of economics is a very sophisticated and correct model. Take the example of Latin america and the UBEC nations. Export tax, to raise the economy of several UBEC nations, resulted in a refusal to purchase from first world nations and in many cases direct, physical destruction of the product. Furthermore, between 1960 and 1980 the growth rates of first world nations was about 4.3%, in the second world 2.7%, and in the third world 1.4%.

We have entered the age of imperialism or as VI Lenin called it, "moribund capitalism".
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