The Role of America in the World
The role of the US in the world, as hegemonic power in the political and economic arena, is to work toward a possibly permanent, stable system and create the political avenues for one ordered development. Only a great power can push other powerful countries’ interests in the direction of peace and development. Only a great power has the capacity to lead economic interconnected forces to serve human need and social justice. In sum, only a great power has the unique capacity and the exclusive toolbox to ensure a future for new generations in the globalization process.
A strong claim is thus that the most powerful multilateral institutions, in terms of the resources at their command, are controlled by the donor countries (and most particularly the USA), promote neoliberal ideas, and are dominated by an economic perspective. Any challenging ideas that arise, if not directly refuted, are distorted, in keeping with this worldview (and world interest). A weak claim is that multilateral institutions are necessarily consensual and technocratic; and that new ideas are diluted and distorted in the process of gaining broad acceptance for them, and putting them into operation. The contributors to this volume occupy varying positions along this range.
The United States - even though its powers vary from one institutional context to another (e.g. the World Bank vs. the ADB) - is, without doubt the hegemonic power within this system.
It might be argued, with respect to the role of the United States, that multilateralism under the control of a hegemonic power is not much different from disguised bilateralism. However, this would in our view represent a huge simplification of the complex power structures and relationships that multilateral institutions represent. And none of the contributions to this volume suggest such an approach. What...