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Hegemony causes war – imperial aspirations produce geopolitical backlash

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Hegemony causes war – imperial aspirations produce geopolitical backlash

Christopher Layne, Associate Professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and Research Fellow with the Center on Peace and Liberty at The Independent Institute, 03

(The American Conservative "The Cost of Empire" October 3rd, http://www.amconmag.com/article/2003/oct/06/00007/)

Perhaps the proponents of America’s imperial ambitions are right and the U.S. will not suffer the same fate as previous hegemonic powers. Don’t bet on it. The very fact of America’s overwhelming power is bound to produce a geopolitical backlash—which is why it’s only a short step from the celebration of imperial glory to the recessional of imperial power. Indeed, on its present course, the United States seems fated to succumb to the “hegemon’s temptation.” Hegemons have lots of power and because there is no countervailing force to stop them, they are tempted to use it repeatedly, and thereby overreach themselves. Over time, this hegemonic muscle-flexing has a price. The cumulative costs of fighting —or preparing to fight—guerilla wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asymmetric conflicts against terrorists (in the Philippines, possibly in a failed Pakistan, and elsewhere), regional powers (Iran, North Korea), and rising great powers like China could erode America’s relative power—especially if the U.S. suffers setbacks in future conflicts, for example in a war with China over Taiwan.

The pursuit of primacy causes global savage wars for peace – it makes conflict inevitable.

Christopher Layne, Associate Professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and Research Fellow with the Center on Peace and Liberty at The Independent Institute, 07,"The Case Against the American Empire," American Empire: A Debate, Published by Routledge, ISBN 0415952034, p. 54-55)
In this chapter, I argue that primacy and empire is a strategy that will lead to bad consequences for the United States. Rather than bringing the United States peace and security, the pursuit of primacy and empire will result in a geopolitical backlash against the United States. It already has. The 9/11 attacks were a violent reaction against America’s primacy—and specifically against its imperial ambitions in the Middle East. Similarly, the quagmire in Iraq also is a direct consequence of U.S. imperial aspirations. And it will not end there. Because it is premised on the belief that the United States must embark on assertive policies to bring about regime change by imposing democracy abroad, the pursuit of primacy and empire will drag the United States into otherwise avoidable wars—what one proponent of the strategy has termed "savage wars for peace." Looking ahead, if the United States continues to follow its current strategy of primacy and empire, it almost certainly will find [end page 54] itself on a collision course with Iran (and possibly North Korea and Syria) and—more importantly—China.
Hegemony Bad – Terrorism

Hegemony sparks terrorist backlash

Christopher Layne, Associate Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, 06

(“The Peace of Illusions” (p. 190-191)

The events of 9/11 are another example of how hegemony makes the United States less secure than it would be if it followed an offshore balancing strategy. Terrorism, the RAND Corporation terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman says, is "about power: the pursuit of power, the acquisition of power, and use of power to achieve political change."86 If we step back for a moment from our horror and revulsion at the events of September 11, we can see that the attack was in keeping with the Clausewitzian paradigm of war: force was used against the United States by its adversaries to advance their political objectives. As Clausewitz observed, "War is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object."88 September 11 represented a violent counterreaction to America's geopolitical-and cultural-hegemony. As the strategy expert Richard K. Betts presciently observed in a 1998 Foreign Affairs article: It is 'hardly likely that Middle Eastern radicals would be hatching schemes like the destruction of the World Trade Center if the United States had not been identified so long as the mainstay of Israel, the shah of Iran, and conservative Arab regimes and the source of a cultural assault on Islam.89 U.S. hegemony fuels terrorist groups like al Qaeda and fans Islamic fundamentalism, which is a form of "blowback" against America's preponderance and its world role.90 As long as the United States maintains its global hegemony-and its concomitant preeminence in regions like the Persian Gulf-it will be the target of politically motivated terrorist groups like al Qaeda. After 9/11, many foreign policy analysts and pundits asked the question, "Why do they hate us?" This question missed the key point. No doubt, there are Islamic fundamentalists who do "hate" the United States for cultural, religious, and ideological reasons. And even leaving aside American neoconservatives' obvious relish for making it so, to some extent the war on terror inescapably has overtones of a "clash of civilizations:' Still, this isn't-and should not be allowed to become-a replay of the Crusades. Fundamentally 9/11 was about geopolitics, specifically about U.S. hegemony. The United States may be greatly reviled in some quarters of the Islamic world, but were the United States not so intimately involved in the affairs of the Middle East, it's hardly likely that this detestation would have manifested itself in something like 9/11. As Michael Scheurer, who headed the CIA analytical team monitoring Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, puts it, "One of the greatest dangers for Americans in deciding how to confront the Islamist threat lies in continuing to believe-at the urging of senior U.S. leaders-that Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than for what we do."91 It is American policies-to be precise, American hegemony-that make the United States a lightning rod for Muslim anger

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