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U.S. Primacy With A Globalization Twist

Updated on December 30, 2014
Globalization | Source


Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has strived to define their place within the international economy and security environment as globalization emerges and expands economic competitiveness across the world.[1] The components of globalization favor an integrated world economy to provide free trade and more access to goods and services on an international scale, not only for the United States, but the rest of the world as well (Aruri).[2] Since the international community is anarchic in nature and lacking an international government, the “global institutions” and regional organizations such as the G8, IMF, World Bank, the EU, NAFTA and etc. play a major role in defining the current and future new world order.[3] For the U.S. to maintain its unipolar status, the United States will have to assume key leadership roles within these global institutions and regional organizations to maintain influence and power in the globalized arena.[4]

The U.S. continues to be a dominant power within foreign affairs and supports the rest of the world’s involvement within the global institutions.[5] The U.S. acknowledges that if the international institutions “do not accommodate the new rising powers, then the nations will create their own global institutions with new rules and barriers.”[6] Inclusion and integration of the world’s rising powers into the U.S.-controlled international framework remains essential. However, such substantive economic growth and potential maneuvering outside of the US-centric institutions will likely threaten U.S. supremacy and potentially transition the world order into a multipolar environment.[7] Unfortunately, the United States has been perceived as designing global institutions and policies in favor of themselves and has appeared as “stacking the deck” against the other rising powers.[8] The United States will have to tread lightly to pacify such growing anguish and attempt to appease other nations such as China and India by welcoming them into the existing global architecture or the aforementioned countries will establish their own multilateral organizations and institutions.[9] To manage the threat of multipolarity, the United States needs to maintain control over the redistribution of power and governance in foreign affairs, while simultaneously embracing the inclusion of all rising power states.


China & Globalization

Globalization can be perceived as a threat to the world’s only superpower because rising powers that feel marginalized such as China will attempt to resist and destabilize U.S. institutions and interests. China has been known to indirectly maneuver against the United States and will likely remain a challenge for U.S policymakers, using globalization as an instrument to advance Chinese interests and grand strategy. China has not only established numerous multilateral organizations that strategically leave out the United States, but will use its peaceful ascension and economic development to change the existing world order.[1] For example, China created the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which is a successor organization for the Shanghai Five, comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan as well as a few other observing nations, with the purpose of advancing “military and energy cooperation among its members.”[2] These nations worked together to solve local and regional security problems. Furthermore, the SCO pledged to safeguard each state’s sovereignty and support noninterference policies to avoid potential interstate conflicts.[3]

Since 2001, the SCO has expanded its areas of interest from local security to terrorism and “economic and cultural dialogues.”[4] The establishment of the SCO has made China a relevant player in foreign affairs and has often been viewed as an organization attempting to limit U.S. influence and de-rail its unipolar status.[5] China’s engagement in regional, multilateral organizations such as the SCO, APEC, and ASEAN+3, is designed to enhance local peace and stability, while promoting China centric policies and its global image as a relevant force in world affairs.[6]

These multilateral and regional organizations are designed to support and sustain China’s theory on regionalism. China has predicated the SCO around values of national sovereignty and non-intervention, which impedes U.S. involvement throughout the region and goes against the principles of the U.S. centric institutions.[7] China is attempting to remove U.S. power and position itself as the dominant power within the region.[8] China’s rapprochement with globalization has propelled its economic ascension and its regional power status throughout East Asia. Chinese support for a multipolar environment can pose a threat to U.S. supremacy. Beijing realizes that the process to attain a multipolar world will be a lengthy and bumpy journey, but still believes it to be inevitable.[9] China also recognizes that it cannot directly challenge the U.S., but realizes that China can enhance its soft power approach to quietly ensure its rise. According to Bhattacharya (2010), “China has found it more realistic to employ a soft power approach by way of multilateralism to restrain U.S. hegemonic behavior.”[10] This soft power approach would advance Chinese interests and grand strategy within the region, while limiting U.S. maneuverability within East Asia.[11]

Over the years, China has embraced the globalization process and has adopted a peaceful rise strategy that facilitates Chinese economic growth and political expansion. According to Henry Kissinger (2011), China and the United States may always be in constant competition.[12] He asserts that China’s ascension will inevitably be unfavorable to America’ s stance throughout Asia-Pacific and the rest of the global community.[13] Tensions between the two nations could easily escalate if China uses its economic success to out maneuver U.S. influence and global policy. Kissinger (2011) makes a great point when he states that China and the U.S. will need to devise a plan to co-exist, since China and the U.S. greatly rely on each other for import and export markets.[14] The struggle for power may prove to be difficult for China, since the U.S.-established institutions are profoundly robust. The Western international framework is designed to be indiscriminate and facilitate free trade and “market openness” with minimal barriers for inclusion and maximum potential for economic gains.[15] The Western economic architecture has supported and stimulated Chinas substantial economic growth. China and the United States may never see eye to eye, but both nations will need to collaborate for economic exchange and to solve global challenges, which will require adapting their relationship to reduce conflict.[16]

Globalization has spurred China’s economic rise and image as a responsible global power, potentially threatening U.S. power. China has achieved vast economic success such as quadrupling the scope of its financial system, becoming a key leader of manufacturing and accruing sizeable foreign reserves.[17] China also has heightened its military budget and increased its diplomatic relationships throughout “Asia…Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.”[18] China’s peaceful rise has transformed its military and economic capabilities to potentially redistribute global power in China’s favor.[19] Since 1979 when China first integrated itself into the world economy, China’s economy has significantly grown at an unforeseen annual growth rate of nine percent over the past 25 years, substantially reducing the poverty rate.[20] China recognizes that its booming economy is the key to its future rise. According to Lane (2008), “if China can continue to sustain near-double digit growth rates in the early decades of this century, it will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy.”[21] It is predicted that China will become a global competitor in terms of military and global strength by 2020.[22]

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Overall, globalization can be viewed as a threat to U.S. supremacy, since globalization can greatly advance a nations relative national power that may someday be comparable to that of the United States. U.S. preponderance can also be threatened by nations who choose to advance their own interests and grand strategy using other means other than the U.S. dominated institutions. China is a prominent example of a rising power that could contend against U.S. supremacy in the future. The United States needs to assume key roles within international organizations such as the IMF, WTO, the World Bank, NAFTA, the UN, and the G8 as well as integrate nations similar to China to ensure the success of the Western system and its globalized institutions. To manage the situation, the U.S. needs to strengthen the Western international system to inspire inclusion and integration of all types of nations, rising or struggling, which will ensure U.S. dominance and a U.S.-led world order.[1]

First and foremost, the United States needs to use its power in a positive and reassuring manner that will convince other nations to rely on the U.S. for international governance.[2] Consequently, countries will be more apt to seek U.S. assistance rather than resist it.[3] Another key task is to uphold previous pacts and treaties that have outlined major postwar concessions. For example, reassuring “NATO and the U.S.’ East Asian alliances” that the United States will uphold the security of these nations and include them “on decisions over the use of force” and in exchange these nations will abide by the current world order.[4] To maintain supremacy, the United States also needs to reinforce its support for the numerous multilateral organizations and the inclusion of trade negotiations and liberalization to support trade opportunities in underdeveloped nations as well as taking on a leadership role to solve the challenges of climate control and transnational threats.[5]

It is imperative that the United States ensures the success of the preponderant multilateral organizations and global institutions to prevent any fragmented bilateral or “minilateral” agreements that leave the United States out of the balance.[6] For example in regards to China, if China decided to establish any type of lateral arrangements outside of the U.S. architecture, the international community would be divided into contending U.S. and Chinese circles.[7] The more robust and resilient the multilateral mechanisms are, the more consistent the global environment will be. Another important reform would be to include and integrate the rising powers into the decision making of the global framework. The U.S. needs to include countries such as China, Brazil, India, and South Africa because by 2050 it is estimated that these nations combined will surpass the vastness of the G-6.[8] To safeguard U.S. interests, the United States has to expand and enhance the global institutions that are already in place to ensure that countries similar to China will rise within the U.S.-dominated architecture.[9]


Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has assumed the role of the preponderate state and has been a dominant force in international affairs in an effort to maintain global order and security accustomed to Western rules and norms. Globalization can be viewed as a threat to U.S. supremacy, depending on the U.S.’ reaction and response to the changing international environment. The onset of globalization has caused challenges for the United States to maintain control and authority over the international framework as rising powers strive to achieve comparable economic success to that of the U.S. and choose to support lateral arrangements that bypass U.S. global institutions and organizations. China represents a prime threat to U.S. supremacy, but only because it is indirectly maneuvering against U.S. influence and power throughout East Asia, using Chinese soft power and multilateral organizations and institutions to undermine U.S. power and favor a China centric regional order. Nonetheless, China still has a long way to go to reach comparable levels to that of the United States. To retain its power, the United States needs to provide renewed leadership in the eyes of the rising powers and improve upon the global institutions so they include and integrate nations like China, which will ensure that China and other rising powers will work within the U.S. international order, rather then on the periphery.


Aruri, Naseer. “Is It Globalization or A Global Hegemony? The United States Versus the World.” University of Massachusetts. Global Affairs.

Bhattacharya, Abanti. “China’s Discourse on Regionalism: What it Means for India.” Asia-Pacific Review 17, no. 1 (2010): 97- 123. 47#preview.

Drezner, Daniel. 2007. “The New World Order.” Yale Global Online. Foreign Affairs. (March 15).

Hanscomb Means Report. 2004. “The Rise of China- 25 Years of Globalization.” International Construction Intelligence. (July/August).

Ikenberry, John. 2008. “The Rise of China and the Future of the West.” Foreign Affairs 87, no. 1 (Jan/Feb); 23-27. 27e5a-5492-44be-b69b- 5133147c9ff8%40sessionmgr114&hid=113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl 2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=28018827.

Kissinger, Henry. 2011. “The China Challenge.” Wall Street Journal (May 14). 05697158.html.

Lane, Christopher. 2008. “China’s Challenge to US Hegemony.” Current History (January); 13-18. h08.6.pdf.

Qingguo, Jia. 2007. “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: China’s Experiment in Multilateral Leadership.” International Relations and Security Network (June); 113-123. Library/Publications/Detail/?ots591=0c54e3b3-1e9c-be1e-2c24- a6a8c7060233&lng=en&id=34993.

Wei, Shen. 2008. “In the Mood for Multilateralism? China’s Evolving Global View.” Centre Asie Ifri. (July); 1-10.


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    • AdoptionNetwork profile imageAUTHOR

      Your Adoption Gateway 

      4 years ago

      Hey, thanks for your reply. I actually just wrote another hub about globalization and its impact on India!

      Thought you might be interested, let me know what you think!

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      4 years ago from Pune( India)

      Globalization helped many developing nations to build modern economies but those who were capable to achieve. Asian nations were quick to take benefit of new system but in Africa and south America , nations with natural resources could not take benefit because non-democratic regimes and in Africa lack of civilian society. They became more poor.It can be rectified.

      In India we enjoy globalization and indian technocrats can bargain with employers. In IT we grabbed part of gloabal software market.

      Indian IT people became globe trotters and earn well.

      globalization opened economies and sharing of knowledge and technologies became easy without hurdles.

      In India socialist and communists still protest against globalization and still love unrproductive and ruined socialism.

    • AdoptionNetwork profile imageAUTHOR

      Your Adoption Gateway 

      4 years ago

      Thanks! I definitely agree with you that the US, other developed countries and developing countries need to be integrated and embrace globalization. It has worked wonders for China. If most, if not all countries would proactively engage in the world market, they would have more access to goods and services and opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, Jill. Globalization can be a double edged sword for the United States. it threatens our dominance but it is also an opportunity. I agree that we need to strengthen the international organizations that the West has developed for security and order. We must also continue strong communications with China and other countries to help to integrate them to create a more stable world. Globalization is here to stay and we need to act positively and cooperatively with the rest of the world to maximize its benefits.


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