Don’t Blame a Lack of Will for the United States’ Waning Hegemony

Don’t Blame a Lack of Will for the United States’ Waning Hegemony
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, in Valhalla, N.Y., May 10, 2023 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Is the United States’ era of global leadership over? From war to famine, the world is on fire and a lack of political will on the part of Washington is being blamed.

In a recent interview, NATO’s former secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, attributed the spate of conflicts engulfing the world to “American hesitance to actually lead.” Rasmussen added that “if the U.S. is not exercising global leadership, then the bad guys would take advantage of the situation.” In other words, it is not just that the end of Pax Americana is fraying the global security order—Pax Americana is ending because the U.S. is now too cowed to lead.

Consider how the Biden administration seems unwilling to push back on Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza, which the Biden administration sees as self-defeating. On top of that, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted that his government will not seek a two-state solution when the war against Hamas is over, a view that runs directly counter to longstanding U.S. policy as well as the Biden administration’s declared position on establishing a sustainable peace in the aftermath of the current conflict. Despite this, U.S. President Joe Biden has been unwavering in his support of Netanyahu, even to the point of diverting munitions originally destined for Ukraine to Israel.

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