Militarism, Democracy Promotion, And Globalization Essay

1192 words - 5 pages

“I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, find that the policies and actions of the Government of Nicaragua constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat” (Reagan, 1985). This Executive Order prohibiting trade and other activities with Nicaragua is a startling example of how the United States managed the world system as the global hegemon. The “threat” posed by a country half the size of the state of Michigan was insignificant and laughable, if nothing else. From 1945 to the present, the United States has pursued the hegemonic project, which is “the establishment and preservation of a global economic system predicated on the principles of free trade, comparative advantage, and open door investment” (Epstein, 2011). The tools employed to establish and maintain this hegemonic project involved preserving the “biggest stick” through the military and institutionalizing the idea of “democracy promotion.” The results of the hegemonic project and the tools that are employed to defend it, have created a neoliberal globalization where power is solidly in the hands wealth nations at the expense of poorer nations.
American leaders often attempted to persuade weaker nations that capitalism as America envisioned, would raise the economies of all countries including their own. The real motive of America’s hegemonic project was to gain access to as many foreign markets possible, while isolating the “bad examples” of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and any other countries closed off to the United States. During the Cold War the United States used brute force to hammer countries into submission such as the American intervention in Grenada. In other cases, the United States employed clandestine forces like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to subvert and topple regimes or popular movements that threatened to break away from the American-sponsored economic system, Chile and El Salvador are examples of this. The use of military forces to remove leaders that governed in ways that did not conform to the ideas of free trade, comparative advantage, and open investment continues to this day, an example being the American-arranged coup of President Aristide of Haiti in 2004. The most profound difference between the American hegemonic project of the Cold War and that of the present is the extensive use of supranational organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose rules on trade that strengthen to position of America and stunt the development of poor nations. For example, the WTO agreement on intellectual property rights affords countries like the United States patent monopolies on everything from certain plants to medicines, essentially locking in a twenty year advantage over Still-Developing Countries (SDCs). The old way of conducting foreign policy through invasions and covert activities has...

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