Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths
Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths

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1.2.4 Section 5: The US as global hegemon – the practice of global dominance

Section 5 considers the role played by the US in the international system. By 2001, the US occupied a position of unprecedented dominance in world affairs and was aptly perceived as a unique kind of ‘global hegemon’. (By ‘hegemon’ we mean a world power that is so powerful it can help determine the policies of other powers in its vicinity, and is technically able to defeat any other power or combination of powers with which it might go to war.)

As we shall see, what this means in terms of US capacity to exercise power on a global scale and achieve the objectives it set itself is, however, a matter of considerable practical concern and extensive intellectual debate. The content of this debate and what it meant for the subsequent war on terror provides the subject matter of section 5. We examine:

  • what US hegemony has actually meant
  • the response of some of its major international partners to the way in which the US has used its unprecedented power
  • the subsequent emergence of what many have seen as a new kind of legitimacy crisis surrounding US global leadership
  • the implications for the future of the global ‘US empire’ that emerged with the demise of the Soviet Union.

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