For the last two years, supported by the DOC, a group of twelve scholars from seven countries have broached changing the global configuration of power and influence; we called this project “(Re)Imagining Hegemonies”. During previous debates and conferences (once in Warsaw and twice in Berlin and Shanghai), we discussed conceptual approaches to hegemony, potential old and new hegemonic strategies, and regional applications of and variations on the concept. We focused our conversations on the changing constellations of world order from a hegemonic perspective, understood broadly as legitimated rule by a dominant power. Under conditions of hegemony, superior forces in world politics deploy their resources to sponsor – using multiple strategies – ordering mechanisms for the world’s society. These efforts evoke reactions of counter-hegemonic ideas, movements, and actions by state and non-state actors.
By design, our book Re-Imagining Hegemonies is not a policy-oriented text. But because it deals with the most pressing global issues, we have decided to face the DOC RI challenge and present a short collection of ‘policy briefs’ on selected policy areas related to our volume’s main topics.
As hegemonically generated rules and regulatory institutions (e.g., the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) enjoy substantial legitimacy, Tom Casier’s policy brief questions whether that will continue in our new, multipolar world. His main point is that despite profound changes in power relations, it is premature to announce a change in the international order. The transformation that he contends is occurring today is largely norm-governed, reconfirming core principles such as free trade rather than overhauling them.
Brian Schmidt answers two questions about US hegemony that have become fundamental: 1) does the maintenance of hegemony continue to serve American interests; and 2) is American hegemony in decline?
Randall Germain’s main argument in his policy brief is that until the hegemonic structure of the world economy changes, the global role of the US dollar as the world’s most important and indeed indispensable currency will remain intact. Yet what are the main policy implications of that position?
Based on India’s experience, Ravi Dutt Bajpai and Swati Parashar answer another set of policy-related questions regarding who might be the main state and non-state actors to shape this new order. They posit that the new global order is moving away from unilateral hegemony towards a multilateral hegemonic configuration. The emerging new order will eventually include a multilateral collective of prominent states who share the goal of changing the rulebook of the prevailing system.
One of the most consequential and hotly debated issues in world politics today is the prospect of orderly cooperation in the face of massive – even existential – global challenges. Leslie Pal discusses how T-20 attempts to coordinate such cooperation by creating a global advisory framework. He contends that this effort has been framed within the development of a ‘global vision’ and a ‘narrative’ of the decoupling of social cohesion from economic prosperity.
As our debate has also centred on policy areas such as migration and the roles of broadly defined ideological and regional institutions in the complex process of either entrenching existing powers or creating anti-hegemonic counterbalances to them, we present three policy notes related to these issues.
Martin Geiger’s policy paper addresses how and with what consequences international migration – as a powerful social, economic, and political process – deeply transforms nation-states and the international order. It changes relations between states, signifies the rise of inter-state and non-state actors in migration management, and creates a powerful anti-hegemonic movement from the Global South.
Elena Chebankova examines the roles of ideational factors in gaining (or losing) power, while Viktoria Akchurina offers a counterpoint to Central Asia’s ‘big game’ approaches by presenting new evidence on why establishing hegemony in Central Asia is nearly impossible today.
Finally, Elinor Sloan’s policy brief contemplates the question, “Is hybrid war a useful means of seeking hegemony?” She suggests that the answer can be found by looking at state behaviour, purported uses of hybrid war, and whether these efforts have served states well in achieving their goals.
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