Benevolent Global Hegemony

Every once in a great while, an article appears in a mainstream publication that lets the eat out of the bag, by spelling out ideas that have long been dominant in public life but are usually seen only in vague or implicit form. One such appeared in the July/August 1996 edition of Foreign Affairs. Entitled "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy," it was intended as a blueprint for a Dole administration, and no doubt also a claim for high appointment for its authors, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, both editors of the neoconservative Weekly Standard. It could best be summed up as an appeal for America to become the embryo of a world empire.

The American role in the post-Cold War international order, according to Kristol and Kagan, should be "benevolent global hegemony." After defeating the "Evil Empire," the United States

enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of our foreign policy should be to enhance that predominance by strengthening America's security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world. The aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as morally suspect. But a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain. That is America's position in the world today.


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