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AUSTRALASIAN JOURNAL OF AMERICAN STUDIES

63

BEYOND THE BUSH DOCTRINE: AMERICAN HEGEMONY AND WORLD ORDER MARTIN GRIFFITHS The scar does the work of the wound.1 This article elaborates the changing nature of American hegemony in international relations, and assesses the Bush Administration’s determination to change the basis of US hegemony in the context of its proclaimed ‘war on terror’. I argue that the Administration’s grand strategy is self-defeating, threatening the status of the United States as a benign hegemon without enhancing its security. However, on the assumption that the neo-conservative influence over American foreign policy will wane in the coming months and years, the United States can still take advantage of its unprecedented power to promote a more sustainable world order. The paper begins with an examination of American hegemony in international relations. I then discuss the manner in which the terms of that hegemony have been changed by the current Administration under the guise of the war on terror. The third section is a critical analysis of American grand strategy, and the article concludes with an assessment of the conditions under which the United States can sustain its dwindling hegemony in the years to come. United States Hegemony and the Cold War Hegemonia, in the original Greek sense, means ‘leadership’. In international relations, a hegemon is the ‘leader’ or ‘leading state’ of a group of states. The central idea behind hegemonic stability in international relations theory is that the world needs a single dominant state to create and enforce the rules (such as ‘free trade’) among the most important members of the system. To be a hegemon, a state must have the capability to enforce the rules of the system, the will to do so, and a commitment to a system that is perceived as mutually beneficial for the major states. In turn, capability rests upon three attributes; a large, growing economy, dominance in leading technological or

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