Sunday, November 29, 2020

Double Bubbles: US Finance and Hegemony

The period after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War is often referred to by many as a US unipolar moment. Indeed, the last decade of the 20th century has been the longest period of vigorous economic development in the US and the pursuit of multilateralism and moderation in US foreign affairs. However, the 2000 crash of high-tech stocks and the shock of 11 September 2001 marked important turning point. Through massive fiscal and financial expansion, the US started both the military and economic engines. The US unilaterally resorted to military force, going back on its commitments, circumventing multilateral institutions. However, the double bubble cannot expand forever through borrowings. As a matter of fact, the financial bubble lost its momentum in 2006 and the economy has been in deep recession since the beginning of 2008. In the meantime, the hegemonistic bubble has been overinflated by the Iraqi and Afghanistan quagmires. The bubble has not burst because the US still tries to maintain high military spending and key powers do not want a quick US withdrawal as this would result in geostrategic collapse at key links, the propagation of terrorism, separatism and conflicts. The shift of the balance of power is likely to move to the periphery or is temporarily balanced and reverses itself. The burst of the financial bubble terminates the US “unipolar moment” but would not be likely to burst the hegemonistic bubble. Therefore, the structure of “a single superpower and many powers” can yet be replaced.

 

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