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America's legacy of economic and political influence

Discuss about the Declining Influence of America.

For centuries now, the United States has maintained its stature as the world super power. The world’s biggest economy and democracy has passed the test of time and risen above the shackles of various challenges to remain an epitome of economic and political influence. Founded on the American dream, the vast nation has always mobilized its people and resources to build a nation in tandem with the dreams of its forefathers (Hacker, 2006).

From the ashes of the cold war, the great emancipation, the challenge of Russia and most recently the threat of international terrorism, America have worked hard to brush aside these challenges and move forward. However, in the backdrop of the global financial crisis of 2008/09, America has experienced various economic and social challenges that have inevitably slowed down the momentum that had already been gained. These factors, coupled with the emerging threat of emerging economies like China and India, some experts agree that America’s grip on the world is declining faster than originally thought (Kynge, 2007). This decline is contributed by various factors within and outside America.

The fundamental reason behind the projected decline of the American influence is competition from BRICS in which China is the major player (Wallerstein, 2003).  The long-time influence that America enjoyed has partly been attributed to the international policies and financial muscle that has garnered them a huge following of countries from the developed and developing countries. However, the emergence of this bloc is being viewed as a game-changer and a move that could eventually loosen the American influence. It is estimated that by 2025, China would have closed the economic and military gap with the US owing to the present patterns. When the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) convened in Ufa on July 2015, China offered $41 billion to solidify the reserve pools so as to escape the influence of the constraints occasioned by the unsteady American dollar. This initiated a series of activities that have culminated in China attracting more nations from the West and Africa who are warming up to the ties. Additionally, the Chinese terms are seen as a more favorable compared to America’s and as such, more nations are heading to china for business deals and in the process putting the strength of the American economy at stake.

Secondly, the fading American influence will be catalyzed by the imminent political transition from Obama to Donald Trump. Despite the challenges that have persisted over the past decade, President Obama has steadied the ship at least to put off the escalation of the decline. However, as he leaves office, and with the likelihood of President-elect Donald Trump exercising a major shake-up in foreign policy, America is headed for uncertainty (Xinyu, 2016). The extreme declarations made by Trump have scared off potential partners who had been used to the friendly nature of the Obama policies. If the early signs are to go by, then America is likely to lose its status and other nation will inevitably take advantage. Part of this decline is likely to emanate from the stock markets, foreign partnership and internal investments. However, this factor is dependent on the legislations and implementation of the mooted policies that Trump is projected to introduce.

Factors contributing to America's declining influence

The inevitability of the decline of America has drawn mixed reactions from across all quarters. Whereas most Americans and especially political figures hold to the belief that America’s competitors are way apart behind, Russia and China are optimistic that they are catching up with the elite. Looking at the pattern through different perspectives, it is highly likely that America will be overtaken in the near future. Whereas America has conventionally shaken off potential competition, this time round the signs are not that good. One reason why the fall is inevitable is the shrinking gap between America and the East. There is a growing belief that the economic and political dynamics are shifting to the detriment of America. For instance, Middle East and Eastern countries are experiencing tremendous growth thanks to the oil money and natural resource reserves in countries like Turkey and Iran. In this context, countries are likely to embrace self-sufficiency and the practice of internal regulation in a bid to break away from the bondage of America. Most of the influence that the US has enjoyed over years has been their ability to fund economies through grants and aids. Therefore, when the countries finally gain a strong foot and be able to stand alone, it is inevitable that the American grip will be reduced.

The same sentiments regarding the inevitable waning of American influence is shared by many people who have traced the American journey from the turn of the millennium. The 20th Century was optimistically labelled as the American Century. According to BBC New York correspondent, Nick Bryant, the fortunes of America have drastically taken a turn for the worst. He observes that the status that America enjoyed over the years especially in the political scene, the disputed presidential election in 2000 was a step backwards that ushered in the questioning of the tag of political powerhouse (BBC NEWS, 2015). The election according to Bryant was an indication of the shifting dynamics and the infiltration of the American political structures. This was followed up by the recent allegations of the Russian intervention in the just concluded election in the favor of eventual winner Donald Trump. Whereas the previous elections have been closely contested, the recent developments are an indication of a system and a nation that is slowly feeling the effects of dwindling fortunes. The same report also indicates that even Americans themselves are losing hope with only 15% of medium aged Americans believing that America is the greatest nation on earth (BBC NEWS, 2015).

BRICS' challenge to American supremacy

The American economy has not been growing in impressive margins to dispel any fear of decline. Although it is the largest economy in the globe, the economy has not been showing any signs of improvement in relation to the burdens that it has to shoulder (Glosny, 2010). The state of the economy has been put into question as the nation pumped billions into the war on terror. This caused public outcry as the number of unemployed Americans rose in the following periods. Soon came the collapse of giant companies like the Lehman Brothers further causing more economic harm (Walt, 2006). The economic environment had quickly changed. Soon companies started effecting massive lay-offs. Although the Obama administration worked hard to restore parity, the entry of Donald Trump complicates matters. His economic policies in taxation are expected to bring even more economic heartache and thus reduce their influence on the world.

With the American influence assumingly under serious trouble, the question remains which among the potential nations that pose the greatest challenge. India and China have been touted as imminent challengers (Subramanian, 2011). However, it is important to evaluate this perception and ascertain whether this statement is true indeed. Owing to several factors that have been fronted by those who argue in favor of this idea, it is imperative that India and China provide a formidable threat to America. Firstly, India and China have enjoyed a low key profile in terms of world politics with much of the resources directed at building the economy. Although India had previously been embroiled in a tussle with Pakistan over the Gujarati territory, the recent years have been marked by peace and prosperity. China on the other hand has avoided flexing its military muscle and in the process creating less adversaries. In contrast, America is spending substantive amounts of money in fighting terror. To make matters worse, the number of enemies that the nation has to deal with is increasing by day. Even the recent killings associated with race have tainted the image of the US and exposed the flaws that exist within its borders.

Secondly, China and India under the umbrella of BRICS are targeting countries in the developing world where the American influence is waning (Engardio, 2007).  Most nations have come to the realization that they can do without America by going East. This is typically true for most African countries that have held reservations over perceived interference of America in internal processes. As a result, China and India have been considered as alternatives because of their perceived neutrality and friendly terms (Beckley, 2011). The recent withdrawal of Britain from the EU further puts America in a tight corner, with emerging economies likely to take full advantage. China and India are buoyed by emerging industries especially in the motor market. Although the two nations harbor the worlds’ largest and second largest populations respectively, this has worked to their benefit with industries sufficiently supplied with labor to manufacture huge fleets of exports to all corners of the world (Halper, 2010).

Thirdly, India and China have grown democratically while America has experienced difficult times politically. As a superpower, America is enviable in all spheres. However, the recent happenings have exposed the weakness and thus the long-time stability remains in doubt. These factors open up the way for other countries to take advantage (Haass, 2008). Notably, India and China are better placed to seize control especially in the Asia-Pacific region where a majority of the nations have long been skeptical of the American gesture (Armijo & Roberts, 2014). India has evolved democratically and so has China. The end result is a region that will look upon the two giant nations for political and economic gains. Consequently, America will be deprived of one of their grounds.

References

Wing, I. S. (2008). Explaining the declining energy intensity of the US economy. Resource and Energy Economics, 30(1), 21-49.

Walt, S. M. (2006). Taming American power: the global response to US primacy. WW Norton & Company.

Haass, R. N. (2008). The age of nonpolarity: what will follow US dominance.Foreign Affairs, 44-56

Glosny, M. A. (2010). China and the BRICs: A real (but limited) partnership in a unipolar world. Polity, 42(1), 100-129.

Halper, S. (2010). The Beijing consensus: how China's authoritarian model will dominate the twenty-first century. ReadHowYouWant. com.

Armijo, L. E., & Roberts, C. (2014). The emerging powers and global governance: why the BRICS matter. Handbook of emerging economies, 503-520.

Beckley, M. (2011). China's century? Why America's edge will endure.

Subramanian, A. (2011). Inevitable Superpower: Why China's Dominance is a Sure Thing, The. Foreign Aff., 90, 66.

Hacker, J. S. (2006). The great risk shift: The new economic insecurity and the decline of the American dream. oxford University press.

Wallerstein, I. (2003). The decline of American power: The US in a chaotic world. New Press.

Kynge, J. (2007). China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future--and the Challenge for America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Engardio, P. (2007). CHINDIA: How China and India are revolutionizing global business. McGraw-Hill Professional.

Xinyu, M. (2016). The Trump Effect. Beijing Review, 27, 012.

BBC NEWS (2015) Retrieved from, bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33440287

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