Since the end of the Cold War, the grand strategy of the United States has focused on world hegemony and borne in mind its principles to maintain stability among various political leaders. Foreign policy has been split between two schools. There is an idealist school, which believes in American domination, even by force. The second, belonging to the neoconservatives and a few Democrats, is the realist school, which maintains America’s relative domination through reciprocity with other countries by means of soft power. Its adherents include President George W. Bush, his father, George H.W. Bush, Brent Scowcroft and Bill Clinton.
Preserving domination and superiority rests on the United States’ ability to shape events in foreign countries and regions to prevent any future threats. The concept has not changed over the past 25 years and has depended on an optimistic view of the global situation.
Today, 25 years after the end of the Cold War, some concepts concerning the American strategy are under intense scrutiny and will continue to be so in upcoming years. This was confirmed by the paper prepared for the National Intelligence Council, co-authored by Peter Weaver, William Inboden and Paul Miller, entitled “Critical Assumptions and American Grand Strategy.” These assumptions have not become completely irrelevant, but have in fact reached a critical stage.
Christopher Layne in “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise,” predicted the end of the one-pole period that prevailed after the end of the Cold War and that American officials would deal with a world they didn’t expect. This world will be governed by competitiveness which will be difficult for America to deal with, given its stable strategy.
On a global level, the United States still has huge military advantages: from aircraft carriers and unmanned aircraft to nuclear-powered submarines and sophisticated aircraft. But it is matched by China’s 20-year military rise, which changes the balance of power in East Asia and creates obstacles preventing American intervention on behalf of its allies. In the next five to 15 years, Asia will see a decline in U.S. ability to maintain its hegemony, and China will boost its military capabilities. China is supported by rapid economic growth, having reached 11.4 percent of the global gross domestic product, while its military expenditures reached 11.2 percent of global military spending, according to 2014 estimates.
Unlike Asia, Eastern Europe is undergoing major modernization efforts. Russia has increased its presence along the eastern frontier of NATO, which puts it in a competitive position with the United States and its ability to intervene on behalf of any of its allies if a crisis should occur in the region.
In addition, the United States’ traditional allies have become less susceptible to intervention in response to U.S. demands that they support its strategy. This is unlike the early post-Cold War era. In addition, the instability of the Middle East, the spread of terrorism and chaos, and the arrival of the West has created pressure on American security in general.
It is clear that other international forces are gaining ground and competing with the United States, although America’s national security strategy for foreign policy, announced in 2002, does not allow for the emergence of regional and international rival forces.
That is unless the United States can provide its guarantee. This means that America and its allies now find it difficult to crystallize a final and integrated vision internationally. The challenges facing U.S. military superiority can create greater uncertainties and will shape the nature of the international order in the next few years.