America’s ‘two-hemispheres hegemonism’
The world entered the third decade of the 21st century amid a terrifying COVID-19 pandemic. This has already triggered an intensified crisis of the capitalist world system by gravely disrupting its key strategic domains—economic, political, military, and diplomatic—and heightening global disorder. Yet, even as the international imbalance worsens into a generalized systemic crisis, the world’s leading superpower is aggressively recalibrating to secure even greater control over the planet’s hemispheres for world hegemonic dominance beyond the middle of this century.
The world system endures to be ruled by a core set of imperialist powers, primarily led by the United States. Perennially locked in direct competition with each other, the imperialist states still continue to uphold a globalized neoliberal economic regime. This failed system operates through a global division of labor that is based upon distinct spheres of influence, composed of countries belonging to the world’s semi-peripheral and peripheral economic zones by means of a relationship of unequal exchange with their imperialist cores.
From a principled perspective, the world’s political economy manifests two profoundly opposed camps: the Imperialist Camp and the Socialist Camp. The former comprises two sub-camps: capitalist imperialism (led by the United States) and social imperialism (led by China). The second camp unites the international communist movement, the global working class movement, world revolutionary/anti-imperialist forces, the oppressed nations, and the consistently struggling socialist states led by Cuba today. This framework gives us a better understanding of the emergent new type of Cold War that is intensely arising between America and China in reaction to the long-deepening capitalist crisis, and now exacerbated by the pandemic’s turmoil. Conversely, the socialist-aligned forces are firmly waging varied levels of escalating anti-imperialist and anti-fascist resistance struggles around the world, to protect the rights of the working masses affected by the reactionary backlash from the crumbling neoliberal economic order.
As a result, the two main imperialist rivals are now clearly under immense pressure to swiftly recover their balance on the world stage by countering each other’s critical steps. Indeed, Washington’s growing offensives against Beijing merely exemplify the contradiction-tension-conflict dynamics inherent to the international system’s nature. After unilaterally imposing a centuries-long domination over the Western hemisphere through its Monroe Doctrine, US imperialism is now aggressively thrusting for a similar supremacy over the Eastern hemisphere, where China is now the eminent hemispheric power.
Today, over 80 percent of humanity lives within the vast realms of the Eastern hemisphere, the larger of the two hemispheres on earth terrain-wise. Geographically, this colossally immense land and maritime space covers the Eurasian landmass (including most of Europe and Russia), all the sub-regions of Asia, and both the continents of Africa and Australia. It is against this backdrop that China is rapidly pursuing its grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as part of its foreign policy agenda to essentially unite this massively contiguous area of the world behind Beijing’s market-oriented leadership. Indeed, the Communist Party of China’s long march along the capitalist road since 1977 has not only concretely restored capitalism in China; more so, the bourgeois-revisionist process has also transformed the country into a social imperialist power that presently exhibits imperialism’s key features.
Surely, Beijing’s external policy strategy is to out-maneuver Washington’s aims for the Eastern hemisphere. By asserting China’s comprehensive national power ranging from the Western Pacific all the way to Western Europe via the Eurasian heartland, China will one day be able to deny America’s hegemonic designs for decades to come. Definitely, US imperialist planners are all too aware that any power which effectively controls the world’s largest hemisphere essentially leads in world affairs. Hence, upon gaining superior global weight, China can eventually block America’s thrust for a “two-hemispheres hegemonism.”
Rasti Delizo is a longtime international affairs analyst and an activist in the socialist movement.
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