What Are the Implications of Thucydides’ and/or Machiavelli’s Writings for Us Hegemony Today Essay


Thucydides and Machiavelli’s analysis of power may be applied to contemporary US foreign policy about the exercise of power and a diminished respect to get law or ethics. Both equally philosophers perform an important position in the Realist theory in which they are generally taken to demonstrate the contradictory nature of ethics and politics in addition to the inevitability of war. First of all this composition will go over arguments for the existence of US hegemony today and how Thucydides and Machiavelli’s writings support this.

Following this, the possibility of the diminished presence of US hegemony will be argued, again using the argument’s from the two historical philosophers to reinforce this declare. Finally, a conclusion will be made on the discussed significance of Thucydides and Machiavelli’s writings for all of us hegemony today. When looking at the meaning of ‘hegemony’ and the method it has been used throughout human history there is an argument for the existence of US hegemony.

During the 21st Century, imperial prominence, instead of like a result of military strength, tended to be established even more indirectly through cultural imperialism, shown by the apparent lifestyle of a dominating western culture. However unilateral military actions is still used worldwide. Rebellion from within sibling states is definitely eliminated by simply co-optation or perhaps by suppression without direct intervention.

Armed service and social dominance as well as a general geopolitical dominance could be applied to explanations of US hegemony. The US can be described by simply Wohlforth since an ‘indispensable nation… ecause the worldwide system is created around American power’ (Wohlforth, pg40, 1999); a statement which exudes hubris. Machiavelli approves of the technique of expansion which usually undertakes ‘forming alliances in which you reserve to yourself the headship, the seat in which the central authority exists, and the right of influence’ (Discourses, ii.

4, p284). This can be noticed to relate to the method of geopolitical effect that America holds more than it’s allies and to the existence of the United Nations. It is important to incorporate claims the fact that ‘US did not choose hegemony; it was required to accept the responsibility’ (Lebow, pg606, 2001).

This differences the time-honored theory that hegemony ought to come with honor. ‘Interventions in Somalia, Haiti, Kuwait, War and Kosovo were enthusiastic by obligations to maintain humanitarian assist with those in need’ (Lebow, pg607, 2001), displaying that American foreign policy because the Cold Battle has been a combine between electrical power and theory both attributes of hegemony. ‘For Machiavelli imperialism is merely the extension of the natural impulse to actually want more, also to get it if one has the capability to do so’ (Boucher, pg101, 1998). This kind of justifies the size of US hegemony as something which benefits America largely when it comes to economics.

Rather than military electrical power, as within early hundreds of years, economic electric power is arguably the main quality for a successful hegemon to have got today. Thucydides presents presumptions of politics realism which in turn claim that ‘states should be considered the primary actors in international relationships, that they should be assumed to consistently search for power, and that they should be presumed to act rationally’ in terms of self-preservation and ‘security through the quest for power’ (Bagby, pg134, 1994). This thought relates to the realist way of thinking in intercontinental relations and may coincide around foreign policy in terms of economics. The US seeks economic electric power world wide to cement their influence and preserve their hegemonic status.

Machiavelli disapproves of the method of expanding a great empire that involves making ‘states subjects rather than allies’ (Discourses, ii. four, p284). Athens followed this approach and would not successfully continue to keep power more than subjected claims due to these states becoming accustomed to self-rule and the difficulty in maintaining a solid armed forces. America mainly ‘wields influence simply by informal and indirect means’ (Lebow, pg605, 2001) which arguably is because of an era of more throughout the world and staunch democratic procedures compared to the early on centuries.

Though Athenian’s would claim hegemony through honour which was caused through all their defeat from the Persian empire in the name of freedom, the Melian slaughter reviewed by Thucydides, showed that their influence over their allies was non-democratic and ultimately shows leadership through arkhe. Lebow and Kelly suggest that at present, ‘hegemonia is definitely even more important than it was inside the Cold War’ (Lebow, pg605, 2001) pertaining to the US. Wohlforth states the fact that US is a ‘first point out in modern day history… with decisive variety in all the actual components of power’ (Wohlforth, pg7, 1999).

The moment discussing electrical power it is important to think about America’s own ‘soft power… which is significantly important in influencing intercontinental behaviour’ (Lebow, pg605, 2001) in terms of advertising western dominance in largely cultural and ideological websites. American’s would like to believe their influence was democratic and embodies the cultural and ideological ‘benefits’ of liberalism. Joseph Ny indk?bte, Jr. challenges the elevating importance of very soft power, in accordance with more traditional kinds of power that count on coercion (Nye, 1999) which usually moves away from realist school of thought that relates to Machiavelli’s and Thucydides’ tips of electricity.

On the other hand it really is argued that, while continue to overwhelmingly powerful, America no more occupies the role of hegemon. The united states, like Athens after the defeat of Persia, can no longer, while using end of the Cold Warfare, legitimately bottom it’s hegemony on the presence of a severe military threat to alone or to its allies. The nation’s leader’s have made efforts to highlight the threat of terrorism nevertheless this appears weak as it can be argued that America is a main target for this kind of acts and its allies have reached much less risk.

Whereas Athens imposed firmer controls about neutral and allied states, this method will be unacceptable to get the US to use as it may not be ‘palatable to the American people’ (Lebow, pg605, 2001). In the Royal prince and The Discourses Machiavelli emphasises that the activities of leaders have to be fitted to the times. When ever fortune alterations you must allow you to adapting your actions to allow for it’ (Boucher, pg133, 1998). This moves against realist beliefs and can apply to the prospective way forward for America’s role in the world which is likely to be fewer influential or else involve making use of a more comprehensive system of advantages and coercion which is not likely to be satisfactory to world opinion inspite of hurting government foreign plan prowess.

Generally speaking, it is nearly safe to talk about that The european union feels very differently to the US on the topic of America’s globe status. The actual fact that Italy wanted the EU to produce an independent overseas and defence policy shows that there are requires a non-unipolar and non-culturally uniform ball of foreign relations by which there is no unilateralism of a single hyperpower, rendering it hard for virtually any potential hegemon to are present. ‘One reads about the world’s desire for American management only in the usa. Everywhere else one scans about American arrogance and unilateralism’ (Zakaria, 1998, pg55).

In terms of US involvement in international disputes, instead of getting principally education as mentioned earlier on, world elites view various instances since the US hitting reluctant international locations to get involved in order to display its own electric power. The Gulf of mexico war can be defined as the ‘last, almost spastic twitching individuals supremacy’ (Lebow, pg608, 2001). It is Thucydides’ view that ‘subordinates will never be really reconciled to their status and are conveniently angered by treatment that reminds all of them of it’ (Lebow, pg608, 2001). Melian Dialogue can be described as ‘literary and philosophical construction’ of Thucydides and is deemed ‘the orgasm of his realism’ (Walzer, pg5, 1992). ‘He wants to show us the lining meaning of war’.

The Athenian’s happen to be, according to Walzer, create to use dialect that would not need been common of the hegemon, demonstrating which the empire was no longer the honourable electricity defeated Persia ‘in the name of freedom’ (Walzer, pg7, 1992). Instead that they represent loosing ethical motives. This can be associated with the American situation in terms of the power no more being pedestalled as the country that contributed largely towards the success of the allied part in World Warfare Two.

It might be argued that both the Melian’s and Athenians are motivated by necessity; the Melian’s are powered through fear of invasion and being stripped of self-rule and their independence, whereas the Athenians will be driven by belief that they ‘must expand their empire… or shed what they currently have’. The neutrality of Melos was seen to be a symbol in the Athenian empire’s weakness along with the hatred that themes have for conquerors. The Athenians feared it would inspire rebellion and ‘by essential of nature’ (Thucydides, pg3, 1985) conquer what they can. The slaughter of Melos is ‘explained by reference to the circumstances of war and the necessities of nature’ (Walzer, pg7, 1992).

The Melian’s face break down if they don’t surrender and ‘value liberty above safety’ (Walzer, pg5, 1992). They believe fortune will be on their part, given to them by the gods because they are morally right and that power will be on their area in the form of armed service assistance from the Spartans. The argument led to the intrusion of Melos by Athen’s and no help was sent from the Spartans; all males were carried out and women and children manufactured slaves. Thucydides’ work is definitely interesting as although the key dialogue describes the decline of Melos, the result is the eventual problem of Athens.

In terms of the US, this can be relevant to US treatment in the middle east which disputably caused even more damage than good and after that the slow demise from the country’s position as a fiscal power following 9/11. Within an article within the Financial Moments website, the countries economical decline could be demonstrated by the following figures: ‘oil selling price hovers about $115 a barrel, the is expected to run a low cost deficit pertaining to 2011 of $1, 580bn, the largest in its history; the economy remains deeply troubled following the financial crash of 2008; and America’s military and intelligence providers remain at war, fighting insurgency and radical Islamic terrorism, coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Niger and Yemen’ (Barber, 2011).

Overall, ‘Machiavelli’s theory is not one of the balance of power, yet one of attainment and upkeep of electrical power. The attainment of electrical power must be commensurate with one’s ambitions, that is, the pursuit of a policy of expansion need to appear the two credible and feasible’ (Boucher, pg126, 1998). This quotation aptly talks about why America might have when been a powerful hegemon, but is unlikely to be a single now.

Filled with honour added to them by allied countries after the World War Two, the US sensed a responsibility to take a lead within the international stage. Some of the effects are still sensed today in the form of the ESTE, which debatably can now be deemed obsolete and undemocratic because of the inability to get specific action and the more money, even more voting pounds system applied which evidently advantages the USA. It is unarguable that the US is still extremely significant being a world electricity but in the past it has not been championing liberal democracy and the great things about capitalism love it once do.

However it typically contributed to the earth wide currency markets in 08 and continuously invades countries to install democracy despite these types of actions staying against international opinion. The implications from the writings of Thucydides and Machiavelli for people hegemony today are only a little bit relevant since although both pieces can clearly relate to the American situation, that they mainly focus on only the realist school of thought which is inept once studying the existence of US hegemony as a whole.

  • Category: United States
  • Words: 2031
  • Pages: 7
  • Project Type: Essay

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