The American Century and the Asian Century Essay

The American Century and the Asian Century Essay

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The last hundred years has seen the downfall of European centred multilateralism and imperialism (Schroeder 1986), the rise and fall of the Soviet Union as a bi-polar super power, and the steady hand of American dominance in international politics and economics, causing some to call it ‘The American Century ’. Despite The United State’s victory in the Cold War, the quick advancement of Asia, and in particular China, have led others to question the USA’s position as a unilateral power in the 21st century.


The American Century?
The 20th century was seen as the ‘American Century’ (White 1992) due to the USA’s dominant roles in WWI, WWII and the Cold War. The USA played a large part in Allied victory in WWI and WWII, and the formation of the United Nations, setting the tone for US influence in the 20th century. The USA’s world influence was seen to be responsible for the spread of democracy and economic systems and polices (such as free market capitalism). With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the United States was the only world super power. The US, possessed the largest economy (World Bank 2014), an unparalleled military, a large industrial base, large amounts of natural resources, their currency as the world reserve currency and by far the largest international political, economic and cultural influence on the world (White 1992).


The Asian Century?
The shift away from the American century to an Asian or Chinese century may not become a reality due to an American collapse, but rather as a result of the growth of the rest of the world brought by globalisation. In the past two decades, globalisation and the proliferation of open international trade has allowed states the ability to rapidly develop economically and techno...


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... the position of unrivalled superpower since the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless in today’s geopolitical climate it is unconvincing that it will be able to hold this position through to the end of the 21st century. The rapid rise of the developing world, and in particular China has led many to ask if the US will be succeeded by another state in the near future. China appears to be the most promising prospect, with the world’s largest population and soon largest economy. However it is unclear as to whether China will be able to usurp the USA in political and cultural influence, and so take dominance in the 21st century. Asia looks to pose the most convincing threat to US dominance in the 21st century. Rapid development, increased cooperation and stability, abundant resources and two superpowers in India and China look to make the 21st century, ‘The Asian Century’.


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