Daniel W. Drezner

The bad habits of hegemony

My latest Newsweek column is online.  It looks at China’s recent moves to challenge the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and what to make of them. The closing paragraphs:  If these moves do not amount to much, then why all the hubbub? To be blunt, America is out of practice at dealing with ...

My latest Newsweek column is online.  It looks at China’s recent moves to challenge the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and what to make of them.

The closing paragraphs: 

If these moves do not amount to much, then why all the hubbub? To be blunt, America is out of practice at dealing with an independent source of national power. For two decades the United States has been the undisputed global hegemon. For the 40 years before that, America was the leader of the free world. As a result, American thinkers and policymakers have become accustomed to having all policy decisions of consequence go through Washington. Our current generation of leaders and thinkers are simply unprepared for the idea of other countries taking the lead in matters of the global economic order.

Most of China’s recent actions do not constitute a real threat to the United States; indeed, to the extent that China helps to boost the economies of the Pacific Rim, they are contributing a public good. Obama—and Hunstman—need to make the mental adjustment to a rising China, welcoming many of China’s policy initiatives while pushing back at those that threaten American core interests. If they can make this cognitive leap, then Sino-American relations can proceed on the basis of shared interests rather than mutual fears.

Go read the whole thing

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies. His latest book is The Toddler in Chief. Twitter: @dandrezner

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