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Why US Is Always Seen As Being Powerful? – OpEd

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By Saeed Davar*

The great America; the powerful America, which possesses the most powerful army in human history; the world leader; are all these American illusions? More than anything, I am willing to draw your attention to this point that power underlies the United States’ national security strategy.

Available statistics and figures show that the United States enjoys the world’s biggest economy and army, but the alloy of this power is not totally American. The main source of the United States’ power is its strong economy. In other words, the basis and fundament of security in the United States and the main source of its influence outside the borders is Washington’s increasing economic power. However, this source has been very vulnerable and if it grows weak, the country’s military power – which was originally created by German scientists, who fled the Third Reich and without whom the United States would not be able to build the nuclear bomb before the former Soviet Union – will collapse.

When it comes to diplomatic conceptualization, which forms the basis of any country’s foreign policy, the United States has been mostly reliant on non-American brainpower and people like the German Henry Kissinger and the polish Zbigniew Brzezinski as a result of which most plans made for US foreign policy have been non-American in origin. The interesting, and of course important and remarkable, point, which must be taken into consideration here, is that all this heterogeneity has served the American convergence and worked to meet the country’s national security and interests and this is the great secret behind the United States success in its global show of force.

The sole election, which draws attention from the entire world and whose results affect management of international affairs is the presidential election in the United States. However, despite this very powerful image, this country is considered as among the world’s most vulnerable countries. Beyond their borders, Americans feel powerful, but inside those borders, they are faced with serious concerns. Existence of imbalanced domestic laws both at state and federal levels and people’s inclination toward local governments; destructive continuation of North-South divides, which are remnants of the Civil War; and increasing social gaps between such a poor state as Arkansas in the south and the rich Connecticut in the north are just part of the country’s weaknesses.

On the other hand, controlled and low unemployment rate; being the world leader in terms of oil and gas production; the ability to create jobs for 11 million in less than 90 years, that is, from 1930 up to the present time; existence of a powerful labor and business community; the ability to attract the best students in the world and the most useful immigrants from across the world and use them to help promote growth of the country; and having economic and military coalitions in Europe and Asia are among major strengths of the United States, to which President Barack Obama has pointed in his recent reports.

Now, you imagine an America under conditions when unemployment is at its peak, its oil and gas production as well as strategic energy reserves have dwindled, no new jobs have been created, 14 million workers are jobless on the streets, students and immigrants are getting redirected toward Canada, Europe and Australia, its energy security is in danger and governments in Europe and Asia have lost interest in having coalitions with the United States. What would remain of the United States’ might under such hypothetical circumstances?

When Obama insists that US must continue its leadership role, it is apparently an effort to encourage US sentiments about maintaining its global might. However, the national consensus in America over inevitability of the country’s global leadership role is also the most vulnerable point of America. Any time that America’s national consensus for global leadership is questioned, the pillars of the country’s power and leadership will collapse. Any country that would want to do this, should be able to create doubt among the American people. If the American public opinion reaches the conclusion that continuation of the country’s leadership role would require hefty costs to be paid by each and every American citizen, this issue would be certainly surrounded by doubt.

I personally believe that undermining the United States’ energy security could be a key factor in this regard. When faced with rising consumption of energy for domestic purposes, a steep rise in the energy price in the country, and increasing dependence of the United States on global oil resources, no American government would be able to bring the situation under control, because shocks produced by disruption in energy supply and demand and energy price will do away with the country’s independence.

Another factor that can work to weaken the United States is existence of differences among powerful American institutions.

There have been profound differences of viewpoint and management between US departments of defense and state over various global issues, which still continue unabated. In addition, differences between Congress and Senate, on the one hand, and the White House, on the other, or between the two legislative bodies have led to disruption of Washington’s plans with regard to different issues. Such differences weaken the national unity in the country and prevent profound cooperation between two Democrat and Republican parties, examples of which were the way the FBI chose to deal with Hillary Clinton’s emails and the nuclear negotiations with Iran. With regard to regional coalitions, I only emphasize the single point that Americans are not able to settle many problems in different parts of the world and need collaboration of, alliance with, and collective participation of regional governments as partners to their coalitions. If such a coalition had not taken shape between the United States and Europe, the United States would not have been able to get Iran to the negotiating table in Vienna.

At any rate, it is a reality that as long as the elements of America’s power have not collapsed, America will remain America; but this stability will not remain unaffected in the fluid world of today.

* Saeed Davar
International Analyst


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Iran Review

Iran Review is a Tehran-based site that is independent, non-governmental and non-partisan and representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran’s political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.

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