Machiavellian View on the U.S Superpower Status


MachiavellianView on the U.S Superpower Status

Themodern political and economic setup in the international relationsspace is dominated by a few states as the leading economies andpolitical powerhouses. The most dominant country in this position isthe United States a nation that relates to others as the superpower.Just like in the Machiavellian times, the United States can be viewedas ThePrincein the modern world, from the perspective of international relations.The United States can be viewed as the Machiavellian prince in themodern world because of its leading economy and being a dominantsuperpower as a political force. The existence of the United Statesas a superpower can therefore be interpreted using the views ofMachiavelli, as presented by the Machiavellian writings. Based on hiswritings, Machiavelli would have advised the United States tomaintain her superpower status in the world. Machiavellian View on U.SSuperpower StatusTheUnited States is the leading economy and political state thatdominates as a prince, just like in the Machiavelli’s ThePrince.This creates a need for protecting the superpower status, just likethe Machiavellian prince had a role to protect the kingdom. Thedimensions of protecting and maintaining the superpower status aredifferent from those of the Machiavellian time because of theadvancements in the political, economic and social status (Femia,2005). Currently, the United States is The Prince that seeks todominate other countries in four dimensions economically,technologically, militarily and politically. Despite the differences,the United States has to act, think and behave like the Machiavellianprince to stay afloat as the superpower. The relation of the UnitedStates to the Machiavellian Prince is based on the Machiavellianwritings that seek to show how a state can dominantly relate toothers. Therefore, the Machiavellian view of maintaining the princeis relevant in the case of the United States to maintain thesuperpower status.Tomaintain the superpower status, the United States dominates byrelating favorably with other countries in terms of economic exchangelike trade, technology and labor. While the economic and otherdimensions of international relations are important in dominating theworld as the modern day prince, the political dominance is whatmostly relates to the Machiavellian view and advice on the superpowernation (Femia, 2005). The changes in the dimensions of the superpowerstatus can be attributed to the desire for control of the policiesmade in the world agenda by various nations (Huntington1).To take this control, nations seek political dominance over othercountries which is what the United States has achieved. The UnitedStates dominates in the political level, as it controls most of theglobal political opinions as a superpower, just as in theMachiavellian argument of the prince.Machiavelliwould advise the United States to secure more power in the globalarena and maintain that power in order to stay as a superpower. Thisis because global politics are the source of power that creates thedominance attributable to the superpower status (Huntington, 1999).In both the internal politics and international relations, globalpolitics is about power and the struggle for the maintenance of thepower over other nations (Huntington,1999).In agreement with Huntington’sargument,global politics are dependent upon the players that are involved inspecific issues that are settled on the international scene. Amongthese players, there is a nation that dominates others, as asuperpower, and in the current state of affairs, that player is theUnited States. In the case of the United States as a superpower, theposition is earned by acquiring power through global politics andmaintaining the status through the maintenance of the power.Accordingto Machiavelli, the concentration of power involves taking thecontrol of the state by preventing both internal and externaldissents against the prince. Taking the United States as the prince,Machiavelli would advise that the country concentrates its effortstowards gaining more power (Ardito,2015).In agreement with Machiavelli, this is the way countries in themodern world are seeking to dominate others through power that isacquired from diplomatic of military success. This is achievedthrough global politics and situations that seek to present thedominant state, as seen in the Cold War (Huntington,1999).The Cold War was a strong example of the way the United Statesacquired its current power through the victory of power struggle withthe Soviet Union.TheCold War gave a platform for the United States to fulfill theMachiavellian view that states should achieve control by defeatingthe enemy. In this case, the enemy was the Soviet Union, whose searchfor economic and political dominance was based on the communistideology (Huntington,1999).At the same time, the United States sought its dominance through theeconomic and political ideology of capitalism. As Machiavellirecommends, the prince should win a war and ensure that the victoryis guarded at all time guarded from political enemies or states thatseek control. This is the case that reflected the dominance of theUnited States in the world, and over the Soviet Union and the controlit gave the country over others in the world (Ardito,2015).This is the control that the United States acquired in the world, andseeks to guard and maintain. Maintainthe Superpower Status by all MeansMachiavelliwould support that the United States should secure and maintain thesuperpower status and interests by all means necessary. The UnitedStates has lived up to this principle as it has guarded jealously thestatus of being a superpower in the world. The United States adoptsseveral means to achieve its main goal as the superpower in theworld. The three most commonly used measures are the use ofdiplomacy, the use of military and the use of sanctions (Huntington,1999).All these methods are used to protect the superpower status byimposing the will of the United States to other countries(Huntington,1999).The United States attained the status of imposing its will on targetnations after the favorable experience of the Cold War. TheCold War was the struggle that determined which state was strongerthan the other, and was the symbolic fight for control that theMachiavellian prince had to undergo. The Cold War involved the use ofall means to secure control and gain dominance over other states,especially the opposing Soviet Union (Huntington,1999).The end of the Cold War was the beginning of the start of thesuperpower status in the United States, as no other state hadachieved such a great level of control or dominance in the globalnews. Machiavelli therefore would approve the means that the UnitedStates took to emerge as a world power during the Cold War, and wouldrecommend the superpower to employ all means necessary to maintainthe status.TheUnited States has taken the necessary measures and taken thenecessary policies to ensure that it maintains the superpower status.One of the means that the United States has engaged in with othercountries is diplomacy. The United States uses diplomacy to keep anyenemy at bay from countries that it has interests in. To do this, theUnited States has made diplomatic ties with the western countriesthat share the same ideologies that the U.S has. Some of thecountries are the Western Europe, such as Britain, France and Canada(Huntington,1999).The United States has also engaged in diplomacy to securerelationships with countries that are seen to be violent oraggressive against other states (Huntington,1999).This is the spirit that the United States is approaching the war onterror with Islamic countries, to cooperate with them in curbingviolent threats. Machiavellian take onMilitary InterventionDespitethe criticism, Machiavelli would support the use of militaryintervention by the United States to defeat any enemy that threatensthe security of the U.S in this case, “The Prince.” The UnitedStates involvement in violence resonates to the Machiavellian adviceof using cruelty if it is necessary. It is worth noting that sincethe Second World War and the Cold War times, the United Statesstarted taking policies and measures that perceived security threatfrom other countries and has since sought to prevent war in its ownland (Dombowsky,2004). This is consistent with the Machiavellian thinking that theprince should protect the state from any perceived or anticipatedthreats both internal and external threats. While Machiavelli wouldhave approved the U.S in the wars, he would still have argued for theuse of the military as the necessary measure. This would be rationalif all other measures have been exhausted without any significantoutcomes.Asa necessary measure of maintaining the superpower status is the useof military interventions by the United States has enforced itsposition as a superpower. This is in coherence with the Machiavellianprinciple of protecting the state by any means possible. IfMachiavelli was to advise the United States of America in currentday, he would approve the use of the American military in theconflicts that the U.S had been engaged in, since the Second WorldWar. This advice comes from the Machiavellian view on the way theprince should guard the state through the use of force or violencethat is appropriate to the situation. According to Huntington (1999),the United States has engaged in military engagements as a way offorcing her will on other countries. As a result of the consistentmilitary engagements, the budget of the United States has increasedover time.Theunited uses the military to fight any countries that seem to threatenthe U.S interests in the world. One of the wars that the UnitedStates engaged in and would be strongly approved by Machiavelli isthe war in Afghanistan (Ardito, 2015). Machiavelli would haveapproved this war because it sought to defeat the rise of the Talibanextremists that were seen to be behind the harboring of worldterrorists that attacked America in the 9/11 attack. The UnitedStates involved in a military intervention in Afghanistan to defeatthe Taliban government that harbored to be a threat to the securityof the United States. The war also aimed at establishing a newgovernment that was friendly to the United States and theinternational community. This would be agreeable to Machiavelli whothought that states should only relate to others that are sharingcertain common interest.Anotherwar that the United States has engaged in is the Iraq war that wasaimed at bringing down Saddam Hussein government and set up a newgovernment. This war could also be supported by Machiavelli as itsought to protect the states by destroying a would-be enemy.According to Machiavelli, the prince must subdue the enemy andcompletely extinguish the army by ensuring the family of the princeis completely defeated (Machiavelli, 2001). This was the mission ofthe United States and it was achieved with the fall of Saddam Husseinand his subsequent execution. The same case applied to the war inLibya, where the United States sought to bring down the Libyangovernment and replace it with another another system other than theprevious.Thefall of Saddam Hussein and Muhamar Gadaffi in Libya gives an exampleof the way the United States sought to suppress rulers who wereperceived to be against the interests or will of the United Statesjust as Machiavelli adviced the prince to take control of the stateand defend the interests of the state at all times.However,Machiavelli would fault for incomplete missions by the United Statesin the military wars it has engaged so far. The ultimate goal of theUnited States as seen from the Machiavellian eyes has never beenachieved in the military intervention that the U.S has engaged in itswar history after the Cold War. According to Machiavelli, a stateshould totally extinguish the enemy, to avoid any future uprisingagainst the conquering prince. In the Afghan war, the United Stateswon the war, but did not extinguish the enemy, leading to theemergence of the security threats against the United States. This wasa failure against the advice of Machiavelli the advice therecommends the prince to suppress the enemy completely. The same casehappened in Iraq, where the extremist elements that remained did notend, but emerged in the form of the Islamic State (ISIS). Machiavelliwould slam the United States for acting against the principles thatkeep the state secure and out of reach from enemies. According toMachiavelli, the defeat of the enemy is not the main end of themission for the prince (Dombowsky,2004). Instead, the end of the mission is the total destroying of theelements, culture and social ties in the family of the defeatedprince to avoid the rise of the ruling enemy family in the future.This is what the United States did not achieve in Afghanistan, Iraqand even more recently in Libya. In all these cases, the UnitedStates has failed to fulfill the ultimate mission, even the ones setby its own military officers. BeingFeared or Loved Works for the U.SWhileUnited States is feared and loved in equal measure, Machiavelli wouldadvise that it is better for the U.S to be feared than to be loved.In the current status, the United States is feared because of itsmilitary might and ability to finance wars against any state. Enemiesof the United States try not to engage in war so as to prevent thedeclaration of war by the United States, or any of its allies. Theexistence of fear works for the U.S because it creates two effects onthe other countries. First, it forces other states to take the willof the United States and play to be loyal to avoid conflicts with thesuperpower. Secondly, fear keeps countries with different ideologiesto those the U.S, to avoid military conflict with the superpower,because they may lose.TheUnited States is feared by countries that have been perceived asthreats to the world peace or against human rights. This is becausethey are against the ideals that the United States seeks to promotein the world. Machiavelli recommends that a state or a prince isbetter of feared than loved (Machiavelli, 2001). Therefore,Machiavelli would support any experience from where the U.S seeks tobe feared. The use of military might and political authority helpsthe United States to control world policies, and be feared. Theexistence of these ideals such as respect for human rights makes theUnited States the country that views itself as the leader inupholding the values. This is what is seen as the imposition of thewill of the United States to other nations (Huntington,1999).TheUnited States is loved by the countries that associate with thesuperpower for protection and economic engagements. According toMachiavelli, a state should seek to avoid being hated, except in theinstances of war which is a good for the U.S as it seeks to dominateother countries. This is the situation that makes the United Statesan ally of many nations that share in the American ideals andideology. During the first and the Second World War, the UnitedStates gained allies like France, Britain and western Europeancountries (Huntington,1999).The same trend developed during the Cold War, where the United Stateswas in support of the countries that portray the same enemy as theU.S enemy. After the Cold War, the colonies of the European allies ofthe United States also became the allies of the United States, whichcreates the admiration of the United States interests. Conceal your interestsMachiavelliwould applaud the United States for the ability to conceal itsinterests in every element of the international relations it does.The United States has been able to achieve this principle in themaintenance of the superpower status and diplomatically drivingnations towards its will. The United States has engaged with nationson different levels, while maintaining its interests. The two maininterests of the United States in the world are the maintenance ofpolitical dominance and securing economic gains from the countriesthat they relate to (Ardito, 2002). When these interests arethreatened, the United States feels obligated to take any appropriatemeasures to protect its status.WhileMachiavelli would support the United States to conceal her interestsin the world, he would still recommend direct action to enforcecertain interests. One of the ways that the United States takes suchmeasures is using economic sanctions. One of the times that theUnited States uses economic sanctions to enforce compliance in theworld is against the countries that threaten world peace or abusehuman rights (Dombowsky,2004). For example, the United States slapped Cuba with economicsanctions to force the country to avoid communistic policies thatwere against American ideologies and interests. This shows theefforts of the United States to pursue its interests at the globalarena and forcing countries with alternate opinion to adhere to thewill of the U.S.Tocontrol the actions of other countries and enforce its will on othercountries, the United States uses international organizations such asUnited Nations Organization and NATO. The United States uses theseinternational organizations to conceal its interests in forcing othercountries to do what the United States wants. For instance, theUnited States aligns with these organizations to enforce sanctions oncountries that go against the wishes of the U.S. this case is seen inthe current developments in Iran. To stop the development of nuclearprograms, the United States has put economic sanctions against Iranto force it to comply. While these measures work for the sake of theworld, they are enforced by the United States to protect herinterests.Machiavelliwould further recommend that the United States should conceal herglobal agenda in the international organizations that it isaffiliated to. This is because Machiavelli always argues that theprince should seek to hide the true interests from both the publicand from the enemy. Machiavelli would also support the ways that theUnited States uses NATO to advance military interests andinterventions in countries that act against the global concerns, oragainst the American agenda. In addition, the application ofsanctions through the UNO would still be a plan that Machiavelliwould not only recommend for use, but also gladly support for thesake of advancements of the U.S interests. ConclusionMachiavellianprinciples reflect the modern state of politics on the internationalscene, especially in the way nations relate. From the perspective ofthe prince, the Machiavellian principles favor the dominance of theUnited States in the world as the superpower. The United States holdsthe superpower position in the world after the Cold War that gave itthe status as the most influential prince-like nation. Machiavelliwould recommend the United States to use any means necessary toprotect its superpower status and interests globally. Machiavelliwould also allow the use of military interventions by the UnitedStates against enemies that threaten the security of the superpowerand the world peace. The use of diplomacy to conceal Americaninterests, as well as the use of sanctions is in coherence withMachiavellian principles. Based on his writings, Machiavelli wouldadvise the United States to maintain the superpower status in theglobal arena. References

Ardito,A.M. (2015). Machiavelliand the Modern State.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Dombowsky,D. (2004). Nietzsche`sMachiavellian Politics. philosophicalresearch,1:769-978 &nbsp

Femia,J. (2005). Machiavelliand International Relations,The Political Quarterly, &nbspJuly2005 Volume76,&nbspIssue3,&nbspp341–349Huntington,S.P. (1999).Thelonely&nbspsuperpower,RevueInternationale Strategique,March1999 Volume 1,&nbspp1–9Machiavelli,N. (2001). The Prince, translated by N.H. Thomson. Vol. 36, Part 1.TheHarvard Classics,New York: P.F. Collier &amp Son