Hegemony & Leadership Toolbox



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Obama Power Fails



--Obama isn’t failing in the Middle East – but contradictions, inconsistency, and growing public opposition make US leadership ineffective

Miller, Summer 11 public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served for two decades as an adviser to the U.S. secretary of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations, Aaron David, “For America, An Arab Winter”, http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1967, CMR
During most of the time it has been engaged with the Arab world, the United States has dealt either with acquiescent authoritarians who were its allies (in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia) or with adversarial authoritarians (in Syria and Libya). Iraq was for a time an ally, then an adversary. All of this (or a great part of it) has now come undone. With some exceptions, most notably Saudi Arabia, every major U.S. ally or adversary in the Arab world has faced disruptive change. On balance, when President Barack Obama’s 3 am phone call came, his first real-time foreign-policy crisis, he responded pretty well under tough circumstances. He made no fatal mistakes or galactic stumbles. And despite the criticism from liberal interventionists and neoconservatives who demanded a more muscular American response, the administration got the big issues right. It has been roundly criticized for its half-in/half-out approach to military intervention in Libya, but even that may prove to have been the best of bad alternatives if Muammar al-Qaddafi falls. The president will have been judged to have accomplished his goal without heavy American involvement, even though for many in Congress it seems too much. What abound in America’s policy aren’t failures so much as contradictions and anomalies. The president has called for the removal of one cruel dictator (Qaddafi) but not another (Syria’s Bashar al-Assad). His administration helped to ease Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak out of power, but couldn’t or wouldn’t press the Khalifa monarchy in Bahrain or Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen quite as hard. That the administration’s approach to these different situations where values and interests collided came to resemble a giant game of Whac-A-Mole is a result less of the administration’s failings than of the impossible situation it faced. It also reflects another key reality: The Arab Spring was not primarily an American story. The United States’ capacity to shape events was always quite limited. As America watches these events unfold, it should be humble and respectful of history’s power and uncertainty. The fall of the Arab dictators in Libya and Syria would be a good thing. Even the stability offered by the acquiescent autocrats (in Egypt and Tunisia) was always at best a false one. The long arc of history may smile kindly on the Arab world and over time bring better governance, gender equality, and greater respect for human rights to a region that is in desperate need of them. But the short term will prove to be a difficult period for the Arabs, and the United States too. Democracy, or whatever strange hybrid of popular government, weak institutions, and elite control replaces the autocrats, will be a double-edged sword. And American policies, already marked by contradiction and challenge, won’t escape its cutting edge. The gaps separating American values, interests, and policies could actually grow, and the space available to the United States to pursue its policies—from Iran to Gaza to the Arab-Israeli peace process—could contract. The growing influence of Arab public opinion on the actions of Arab governments and the absence of strong leaders will make it much tougher for the United States to pursue its traditional policies. For America, the Arab Spring may well prove to be more an Arab Winter.

A2 – Heg Solves War


--Hegemony not key to global stability, trade, or terrorism

Preble, ’10vice president for defense and foreign policy studies, Cato Institute

[Christopher, “U.S. Military Power: Preeminence for What Purpose?”, Aug 3, http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/u-s-military-power-preeminence-for-what-purpose/, CMR]


Most in Washington still embraces the notion that America is, and forever will be, the world’s indispensable nation. Some scholars, however, questioned the logic of hegemonic stability theory from the very beginning. A number continue to do so today. They advance arguments diametrically at odds with the primacist consensus. Trade routes need not be policed by a single dominant power; the international economy is complex and resilient. Supply disruptions are likely to be temporary, and the costs of mitigating their effects should be borne by those who stand to lose — or gain — the most. Islamic extremists are scary, but hardly comparable to the threat posed by a globe-straddling Soviet Union armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. It is frankly absurd that we spend more today to fight Osama bin Laden and his tiny band of murderous thugs than we spent to face down Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao. Many factors have contributed to the dramatic decline in the number of wars between nation-states; it is unrealistic to expect that a new spasm of global conflict would erupt if the United States were to modestly refocus its efforts, draw down its military power, and call on other countries to play a larger role in their own defense, and in the security of their respective regions.
--Heg doesn’t solve war

Fettweis, ‘10 Professor of national security affairs @ U.S. Naval War College.

(Christopher J. “Threat and Anxiety in US Foreign Policy,” Survival, Volume 52, Issue 2 April 2010 , pages 59 – 82informaworld) CMR


One potential explanation for the growth of global peace can be dismissed fairly quickly: US actions do not seem to have contributed much. The limited evidence suggests that there is little reason to believe in the stabilising power of the US hegemon, and that there is no relation between the relative level of American activism and international stability. During the 1990s, the United States cut back on its defence spending fairly substantially. By 1998, the United States was spending $100 billion less on defence in real terms than it had in 1990, a 25% reduction.29 To internationalists, defence hawks and other believers in hegemonic stability, this irresponsible 'peace dividend' endangered both national and global security. 'No serious analyst of American military capabilities', argued neo-conservatives William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1996, 'doubts that the defense budget has been cut much too far to meet America's responsibilities to itself and to world peace'.30 And yet the verdict from the 1990s is fairly plain: the world grew more peaceful while the United States cut its forces. No state seemed to believe that its security was endangered by a less-capable US military, or at least none took any action that would suggest such a belief. No militaries were enhanced to address power vacuums; no security dilemmas drove insecurity or arms races; no regional balancing occurred once the stabilis-ing presence of the US military was diminished. The rest of the world acted as if the threat of international war was not a pressing concern, despite the reduction in US military capabilities. Most of all, the United States was no less safe. The incidence and magnitude of global conflict declined while the United States cut its military spending under President Bill Clinton, and kept declining as the George W. Bush administration ramped the spending back up. Complex statistical analysis is unnecessary to reach the conclusion that world peace and US military expenditure are unrelated.

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