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Debate Research: Anti-Superpower (Compiled)

Debate Research: Anti-Superpower (Compiled)

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Published by ansherina2
My compiled paragraphs that helped me and my group in the debate.

We won, by the way. :D
My compiled paragraphs that helped me and my group in the debate.

We won, by the way. :D

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Published by: ansherina2 on Aug 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What is a "Superpower"?

The term “superpower” is often used loosely in popular discourse to describe anything that achieves unmatched dominance from the status achieved in international affairs by the United States since World War II to the unrivalled position achieved by Microsoft, and, in their time, by the 1960s Boston Celtics and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. The discussion here will be better served by a somewhat more precise definition: a “superpower” is a country that has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time, and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemon.

The basic components of superpower stature may be measured along four axes of power: military, economic, political, and cultural (or what political scientist Joseph Nye has termed “soft”). Using these dimensions, arguably, Britain was the prototype superpower in the nineteenth century. Britain’s industrial revolution preceded other European states by several decades, giving London superior economic, military, and political power that allowed Britain to reign as the international order’s hegemon from 1815 until the early twentieth century. An island country lacking in industrial resources, Britain created a worldwide empire of colonies that sustained British economic power and made the British pound the standard of exchange in the international economy. Britain’s wealth was sustained by the maritime superiority of its navy and commercial fleet and by the chain of bases and strategic strongpoints from Gibraltar through the Suez Canal and around the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Malacca that it commanded. Britain was the prevailing power against which all of the late-coming industrial powers, France, Germany, and Russia, competed in the nineteenth century’s rivalries for spheres of influence and colonies in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia during the great wave of imperialism after 1870. Britain sustained its hegemonic position for a nearly a century, until the rivalry of Germany under Wilhelm II and the “long war” from 1914 to 1945 ultimately undermined its hegemony.


The idea that the Cold War period revolved around only two blocs, or even only two nations, has been challenged by some scholars in the post-Cold War era, who have noted that the bipolar world only exists if one ignores all of the various movements and conflicts that occurred without influence from either of the two superpowers.[citation needed] Additionally, much of the conflict between the superpowers was fought in "proxy wars", which more often than not involved issues more complex than the standard Cold War oppositions.

After the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s, the term hyperpower began to be applied to the United States, as the sole remaining superpower of the Cold War era. This term, coined by French foreign

minister Hubert Védrine in the 1990s, is controversial and the validity of classifying the United States in this way is disputed. One notable opponent to this theory, Samuel P. Huntington, rejects this theory in favor of a multipolar balance of power.

Other International Relations theorists, such as Henry Kissinger, theorize that because the threat of the Soviet Union no longer exists to formerly American-dominated regions such as Japan and Western Europe, American influence is only declining since the end of the Cold War, because such regions no longer need protection or have necessarily similar foreign policies as the United States.

Post Cold War (1991-Present)

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that ended the Cold War, the post-Cold War world was sometimes considered as a unipolar world, with the United States as the world's sole remaining superpower. In the words of Samuel P. Huntington, "The United States, of course, is the sole state with preeminence in every domain of power — economic, military, diplomatic, ideological, technological, and cultural — with the reach and capabilities to promote its interests in virtually every part of the world."

Most experts argue that this older assessment of global politics was too simplified, in part because of the difficulty in classifying the European Union at its current stage of development. Others argue that the notion of a superpower is outdated, considering complex global economic interdependencies, and propose that the world is multipolar.According to Samuel P. Huntington, "There is now only one superpower. But that does not mean that the world is unipolar. A unipolar system would have one superpower, no significant major powers, and many minor powers." Huntington thinks, "Contemporary international politics" ... "is instead a strange hybrid, a uni-multipolar system with one superpower and several major powers."

Additionally, there has been some recent speculation that the United States is declining in relative power as the rest of the world rises to match its levels of economic and technological development. Citing economic hardships, Cold War allies becoming less dependent on the United States, a declining dollar, the rise of other great powers around the world, and decreasing education, some experts have suggested the possibility of America losing its superpower status in the distant future or even at the present.


Hegemony DA

) US Foreign Policy Is Hegemonic

Wills, 1999

Foreign policy leadership has become an ambiguous phrase. It once meant leading the American people in the formation and execution of national policy. But some now use it to state a less obvious idea: the United States leading other nations in the international arena. Why should other nations follow US leaders rather than their own? Leadership involves some common stake between the leader and the lead, some basis for agreement on goals to be sought and prices to be paid. The more recent meaning of foreign policy leadership has thrust itself to the fore of America's claim to be leader of the free world.

[Garry Wills - author on For Policy, Bully of the Free World, Foreign Affairs, Mar/April 1999, p. 50]

) US Is Becoming Increasingly Isolationist

Huntington, 1999

On issue after issue, the United States has found itself increasingly alone, with one or a few partners, opposing most of the rest of the world's states and peoples. These issues include U.N. dues; sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and Libya; the land mines treaty; global warming; an international war crimes tribunal; the Middle East; the use of force against Iraq and Yugoslavia; and the targeting of 35 countries with new economic sanctions between 1993 and 1996. On these and other issues, much of the international community is on one side and the United States is on the other. The circle of governments who see their international interests coinciding with American interests is shrinking.

[Samuel Huntington - Prof Intl Affairs, Harvard U, The Lonely Superpower, Foreign Affairs, vol 78, no 2, p. 41-2]

) Decreased US Hegemony Will Decrease The Risk Of War

Huntington, 1999

In the multipolar world of the 21st century, the major powers will inevitably complete, clash, and coalesce with each other in various permutations and combinations. Such a world, however, will lack the tension and conflict between the superpower and the major regional powers that are defining characteristics of a uni-multipolar world. For that reason, the United States could find life a a major power in a multipolar world less demanding, less contentious, and more rewarding than it was as the world's only superpower.

[Samuel Huntington - Prof Intl Affairs, Harvard U, The Lonely Superpower, Foreign Affairs, vol 78, no 2, p. 41-2]


In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. As a term in international law for a 'just equilibrium' between the members of the family of nations, it expresses the doctrine intended to prevent any one nation from becoming sufficiently strong so as to enable it to enforce its will upon the rest.

The basic principle involved in a balancing of political power, as David Hume pointed out in his Essay on the Balance of Power, is as old as history, and was perfectly familiar to the ancients both as political theorists and as practical statesmen. In its essence it is no more than a precept of commonsense, born of experience and the instinct of self-preservation; for, as Polybius very clearly puts it (lib. i. cap. 83)

"Nor is such a principle to be despised, nor should so great a power be allowed to any one, as to make it impossible for you afterwards to dispute with him on equal terms, concerning your manifest rights."

As Professor L. Oppenheim (Internal. Law, i. 73) justly points out, an equilibrium between the various powers which form the family of nations is, in fact, essential to the very existence of any international law. In the absence of any central authority, the only sanction behind the code of rules established by custom or defined in treaties, known as 'international law', is the capacity of the powers to hold each other in check. If this system fails, nothing prevents any state sufficiently powerful from ignoring the law and acting solely according to its convenience and its interests.


Question: In initial reactions to this incident within America, there has been talk of intelligence and security weaknesses. In fact, the Pentagon, the centre of the defence establishment and the most important centre of finance have been attacked and many people have perished. What is the effect of this incident regarding the status of America as a superpower in the world; what measures might America take to prevent a diminished position?

Mansoor Hekmat: In my opinion, this terrorism in fact helps secure America’s image as a superpower. USA’s superpower status is defined in relation to other economic, political and military powers in the capitalist world and not in relation to Afghanistan, Iraq or Islamic Jihad and Hamas. USA’s status as a superpower is in domineering the world, not in its secure airports and fireproof buildings. And today’s climate in the world after this incident, just as the period after Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, is exactly a climate of renewed declarations of allegiance to America by other Western powers and their yielding to the political and military tendencies of the American administration. This terrorist crime gives a blank cheque to America for military intervention in any part of the world and to re-assert its world dominance, while a day before, the American government was under pressure by the ruling circles and the media in the West for its obstinate and zealous defence of Israel and its disregard for the Kyoto agreement. USA will exploit this incident as a springboard, and excuse for a show of military power. In the short term, all Western governments will fall in line and stand to attention. In the medium term, however, more lasting economic and political equations will again change the equilibrium to America’s disadvantage.

Question: American officials are speaking of revenge and of punishing the terrorists and countries supporting terrorism. They have accused Bin Laden and have said that if the Taliban does not hand him over, they might attack Afghanistan. What is your opinion on this?

Mansoor Hekmat: In my opinion, America and NATO will definitely carry out an immense violent operation, not necessarily or fundamentally to punish the perpetrators who might not even be within America’s reach, but rather to assert its power globally as well as for psychological and emotional factors in USA itself. Between an effective political way to confront anti-American terrorism and a futile military course of action, the US will definitely opt for the latter because America’s conception of itself and its super power status is based on military might.



http://www.stanford.edu/group/sjir/6.1.03_miller.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower www.debatelab.2itb.com/disad.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_power_in_international_relations www.marxists.org/archive/hekmat-mansoor/2001/09/14.htm

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