Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the U.S. has been able to exert tremendous influence on other nations through its military and economic power. The world no longer was bipolar with the U.S. and the Soviet Union competing for leadership. Instead, it has been a unipolar world under U.S. hegemonic leadership.
In 1997, U.S. neoconservatives created a think tank, Project for the New American Century, to promote and extend American global leadership. In 2000, PNAC issued a report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that called for extending the U.S. global leadership through maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces. It was also considered important to deter the rise of a new great-power competitor.
During the period since 1991, the U.S. has represented itself as a benign hegemon. The U.S. mainstream media has worked hard to convince the U.S. public and the world that U.S. actions are for good causes.
The U.S. corporate media tout this era as a continuation of Pax Americana. However, many nations around the world view things very differently. They see, for example, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that was based on lies as a major war crime that devastated Iraq and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. There were no sanctions imposed on the U.S. or its allies for this shocking crime and no call for reparations to help rebuild Iraq.
Moreover, this attack, along with the U.S. involvement in the attack on Libya and its military support for terrorists in Syria, created instability and devastation throughout much of the Middle East.
Illegal use of sanctions
Many countries also question the U.S. use of unilateral sanctions. Currently the U.S. has imposed sanctions on 39 nations including about one-third of the globe’s population. Sanctions not approved by the U.N. Security Council are a violation of the U.N. Charter.
So much for the idea of a rules-based order. Moreover, the U.S. uses secondary sanctions to prevent other nations from trading with the targeted nations. In general, sanctions most severely affect the vulnerable and represent a most cruel form of economic warfare.
Coups overthrowing democracies
These nations also see the U.S. support for coups and attempted coups in many nations, e.g., in Haiti in 2004, in Honduras in 2009, in Ukraine in 2014, and in Bolivia in 2019. In addition, during the past two years, there have been coups and coup attempts in Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Gambia and Mauritania led by U.S. trained military officers.
Protecting war criminals
Nations around the world also see how the U.S. prevents actions to be taken against its allies for their appalling violations of international law. Israel is a prime example, escaping any sanctions for its many war crimes and violations of human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, for its criminal attacks on Lebanon and Syria and for its illegal occupation of the Golan Heights.
These U.S. actions are hardly those of a benign force. For many of the poorer nations, the last three decades of so-called Pax Americana have brought violence, insecurity, poverty and hunger. China is the exceptional nation that has experienced improvement in the quality of life for hundreds of millions of its people.
Moreover, given the U.S. attacks on Iraq and other countries, people around the world are angry about U.S. hypocrisy over sanctions on Russia for its criminal invasion of Ukraine. For example, most nations strongly condemned the Russian attack, but countries, including much of Asia, Africa and South America with the majority of the world’s population, do not support the U.S. sanctions on Russia.
Deterring a competitor
The Russian attack on Ukraine follows eight years of ongoing fighting between Ukrainian nationalist forces and Ukrainians who rejected the 2014 U.S.-supported coup. This Ukrainian coup overthrew a democratically elected government and, unsurprisingly, the new coup government looked westward, away from Russia.
Insanely, the U.S. intentionally provoked this 2022 Russian attack. Making matters worse, the U.S. has not encouraged Ukraine to find a diplomatic solution to end the destruction and killing. Instead, the U.S. seems willing to sacrifice Ukraine in order to weaken Russia.
A weakened Russia also harms the Russian and Chinese effort to move from a unipolar to a bipolar world. The last three decades show that the U.S. doesn’t follow international law and strongly suggest there must be a force to counter the U.S. hegemon that has done so much damage to the world.