American values and the global balance of power
By : Turki Aldakhil
:: Ever since America’s intervention in World War II, there have been theories about its imperial role and the possibility of the transformation of its power into a tool that destroys hostile countries and different projects.
Meanwhile, totalitarian movements have been known for opposing American values considering they are products of an imperial power that plans to control the world through fashion such as jeans, fast food, soft drinks, cinema and the theme of the strong invincible man like the James Bond or Rambo movie series. Exaggerations apart, they are indeed very influential in both the East and the West.
This American state developed and the genius media spread its influence. Almost everything became American. Since America has comprehensive values that are based on freedom, law and justice, it is not possible to separate its military power from its charming media power.
America does not have deep roots in history and conflicts as it was founded 300 years ago and its values were the result of a mix of cultures and nations and were inspired by European civilization as it developed it as per its tools and needs.
During a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart Rex W. Tillerson, the former talked about the importance of being aware of history before engaging in the Syrian crisis. He said, in a slightly condescending tone that Tillerson was new, adding that he should know the historical context of the crisis.
However, Tillerson told him that what concerns America is today’s problems, adding that history is not part of personal concerns as America’s own history is modern to begin with.
It is no secret that it is in the interest of American influence to intervene in Syria on the political and military fronts in order to weaken Russia’s intervention. Without this intervention, Russia and Iran will wreak havoc in the Fertile Crescent and will have sole control
The Russians have practically retreated even if their rhetoric has escalated. This is due to Russia’s internal crises and because America is very powerful at pressuring others through sanctions. Moscow is aware that American power is no joke especially considering Barack Obama is no longer the president.
Seen in this context, there have been continuous talks about America’s military ambitions. There are different opinions as some say the US is the strong state that is capable of resolving crises, intervening in crises and finalizing conflicts. Others believe it is a colonial, imperialist and expansionist state. So, how can America’s role be more accurately and clearly understood?
In his book The Future of Power, Joseph Nye, the former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, analyzed the role of American power and its possible consequences. Nye believes that managing power is more important than power itself. He compared and contrasted American and Chinese power and noted that America continues to excel in terms of military equipment and technological advancement.
According to Nye, the US, as a superpower, will continue to maintain its significance in global affairs but statements that the 21st century is the century of American superiority as well as narratives about American decay are misleading when they’re used to specify the type of strategy which will be important in the 21st century.
A post-American world
He added that it is not possible for the upcoming decades to witness the emergence of a post-American world. Nye noted, however, that the US will require a smart strategy that combines sources of hard power and soft power and solidifies alliances that respond to the new context of the global information age.
The US does not necessarily intervene in crises because it is a colonial or occupying force but because it is capable of making military and political statements of superpowers that think some malaise are ordinary. We, however, cannot say that America’s motives are purely humanitarian as there may be a desire to restore influence and weaken another power.
It is no secret that it is in the interest of American influence to intervene in Syria on the political and military fronts in order to weaken Russia’s intervention. Without this intervention, Russia and Iran will wreak havoc in the Fertile Crescent and will have sole control. This harms America’s national security.
Old statements about America are no longer relevant. Insulting linguistic movements are no more and this superpower whose humanitarian values excel over bloody projects and eliminatory ideologies have stayed. Does any reasonable man think that the values of a party such as the Syrian Baath Party compete with those of the US?
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.