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Peter Gowan's “American grand strategy”

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While this article broadly agrees with Peter Gowan's concern about the new militarism of the United States and the appalling consequences that have emerged as a result of U.S. preemption in Iraq, it questions the extent to which his portrait of U.S. hegemony addresses all the relevant issues as they affect the Asian region. Given the numerical dominance of Asia in world population and the rising power of China and India, how Gowan's “American Grand Strategy” applies to this part of the world is of fundamental importance to the relevance and sustainability of his argument. Part 1 on U.S. economic hegemony argues that U.S. capital has not been an unmitigated evil for India and where U.S. interests have been damaging they are not uniquely so: the European Union's economic policies have also been deeply damaging even though Europe is not a hegemon. Part 2 on U.S. political hegemony argues that bringing Pakistan and India into the U.S. alliance system has been beneficial for regional security and domestic political-ethnic stability. Part 3 considers responses to U.S. hegemony, arguing that this supremacy is more fragile than Gowan assumes because new powers, such as China and India, have long-term strategies to reduce their dependency. The conclusion suggests that despite widespread criticism and dissatisfaction with the nature of U.S. engagement in Asia, the dominant view in the region is one that sees the United States as a useful wedge between the emerging interests of China, India, and Japan. In short, the “American Grand Strategy” is not as negative, overwhelming, or as unpopular as Gowan suggests.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005

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