Past Hegemons and Future Prospects
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
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Today, the international system finds itself in a period of dramatic change. Within international political economy, the subject of hegemony has been the focus of a lot of research and speculation. Although the U.S. still holds a commanding position in the international economy, many in the field argue that America has already entered the decline phase of the hegemonic cycle. If the U. S. is losing the preponderant power that has characterized it since 1945, then eventually it will lose its ability to exercise leadership in the world economy. Issues such as the future of the hegemonic cycle and the prospects for the rise of another world economic leader demand some better criteria for analysis. That fact forms the inspiration for this research. This paper will look at the last two periods of hegemony in an attempt to find some economic, military, and technological attributes that reflected the leadership position of the U.K. and the U.S. in the international system. These measures should give some concrete foundation to the preponderance of power idea associated with hegemony. Furthermore, these attributes will form a standard for evaluating the prospects of future hegemons, particularly Japan. Is Japan truly a candidate to replace America in the near future Finally, this paper will discuss whether there are any national attributes or systemic factors that could break past patterns and end the cycle of hegemony.
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- Government and Political Science