The term ‘hegemonic’ is derived from the word ‘hegemony’ that translates in to the aspect of leadership. Having been formulated from the Greek society, the term was employed with reference to the ability of an individual or state authority to exercise some level of dominion over a given populace. The term later was adopted within the contemporary society in reference to group levels only, unlike within the conventional system that was inclusive of individuals. Hegemonic states therefore are viewed as those that accord political, philosophical, communal or economical control over other factions with a majority of the populace required in supporting the outlined leadership arrangement (Caraley 3). Hegemonic nations majorly rose into the global aspect within the 16th century with Spain as it accorded economic control to other nations through the gold bullion standards within commercial activities, while military homogeny was practiced through mercenary defense forces within the established dynasties.
Within the 17th century period, Netherlands dictated superior rule within trading processes enforced within the control of money markets while military dominion was achieved through the navy. Netherlands was succeeded by France within the 18th century period, with armed forces power exerted through the army, economic power through the management of public institutes and industries located within non-urban settings, and social domination through cultural affairs and practices. In the 19th century, Britain became a hegemonic nation according economic command through the industrial sector, together with the credit and monetary supply (Caraley 115). Political authority was accorded through the navy that was situated in island regions for defensive purposes in regional territories. The 20thand 21st centuries have both been under the United States of America, with the former period according economic domination through superior technological and scientific progression.
Communal hegemony is attributed to liberalization concepts within the nations and trading blocs in the creation of a universal society. Political control was achieved using military groups and coalitions in terms of peace sustenance or according synergy by combining various nations towards a common warfare cause. The US has accorded a flexible manner of control to other nations with regard to the preceding factors, yet the rule has been mildly felt by most individuals because the policies are enforced with agreements between the affected nation and the identified hegemonic nation (Caraley 115). The same power points are currently employed by the US within the present century, with a slight variation in the inclusion of the communications aspect.
Characteristics of Hegemonic Countries
Hegemonic nations are mainly identified within the economic and political functions, with the latter being an attribute of the military element. Economic characteristics are based on the creation and implementation of organizations that manage international trade as this controls the monetary inflows and outflows, with a wider benefit to the hegemonic nation. This is achieved through the adoption of trade regulations that are mandated to compliance within the other nations; this can be achieved through both coercive and non-coercive means. Although hegemonic nations present these economic solutions for mutual benefits with regard to the involved nations, they tend to accord the highest level of returns within the association. Decisions accorded with regard to economic problems are therefore managed primarily by the hegemonic nation. With the US being the present hegemonic power, it has instituted trade organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) following World War II and though this economic imperialism has been maintained with the issue of loan advancements to the needy nations.
The loans accord a level of control within the legal and conditional requirements attached to the credit, as non-compliance would lead to a withdrawal of the same. As various nations, notably within the developing and least developed nations are plagued with financial needs for wellbeing improvement, they are coerced into the accorded stipulations for monetary support (Caraley 116). The military aspects are also maintained within a similar structure with the US bearing significant control over nations in political aspects as enforced through stipulations accorded to the United Nations. For instance, the US controls weaponry issues like nuclear production within the globe. Peacekeeping initiatives are conducted by the employment of the US army into other nations with the hegemonic state according sovereign rule within such instances, and this renders the authority of the affected nation as being obsolete.
Responsibilities of a Hegemonic Country
Hegemonic nations are accorded a high liability in the harmonization of global functions in economic and the maintenance of peaceful associations amongst various nations. The advantages of according such a function to hegemonic states are that it accords equitable treatment to all nations with regard to resource allocation. Additionally, it presents a neutral ground in which marginalized nations are able to table their problems and accord justice that would be waived in case of sole representations (Carlsnaes, Thomas and Beth 434). Core nations are viewed as those whose economic status are categorized as superior and therefore comprises of developed nations like Britain, US, Germany, France, and Japan amongst others, and they are charged with the enhancement of economic expansion to the needy groups, namely periphery and semi-periphery nations.
Periphery nations on the other hand comprise of poor nations mainly located within Asia and Africa like India, Comoros, Benin, Ethiopia, and Uganda amongst others. Semi-periphery nations comprise of developing nations like China, Kenya, Vietnam, Zambia, and Lesotho amongst others. The main demerit of a hegemonic nation is that it enforces imperialistic tendencies on the underprivileged nations, as a common decision has to be afforded despite the local views on the problem (Carlsnaes, et al. 435). With erroneous decisions, the risk is therefore spread to other nations, forcing them to bear unprecedented costs that are not related to them.
Caraley, Demetrios. American hegemony: preventive war, Iraq, and imposing democracy. New York: Academy of Political Science, 2004. Print.
Carlsnaes, Walter, Thomas Risse-Kappen and Beth Simmons. Handbook of international relations. Teller Road: SAGE, 2002. Print.