American internal and external strategies allowed it to gain political power worldwide. The violent competition for establishing the new world order was particularly evident during the Cold War era. However, the lack of competitive forces in the 1990 and the 2000s resulted in creating an idea about taking responsibility for worldwide liberalization (Wright 1). The spread of this idea among U.S. citizens became possible due to television’s power that used advertisements intensely to influence viewers’ choices and perceptions (Hirshon 14). A part of the series “America becomes a world power” discusses how the United States transformed from a nation fighting against imperialism to becoming an imperial power (“America in the 20th Century America Becomes a World Power” 29:09-29:25). This video describes American external policy as diplomatic at the beginning of the U.S. independence. It also raises the issue of the U.S. becoming aggressive later in the course of its development. This issue of the U.S. wanting to maintain supremacy in the world remains valid today. Successful internal ideologic programs and aggressive external approaches, supported by many European and South-East Asian countries, allowed America to become a world power.
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A vigilant approach of the U.S. government allowed to place the idea of external threats and the need to share liberal views with other countries into American citizens’ minds, providing support to people. The spread of these ideas was possible due to television and other media. Although the 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge suggested not to overuse advertisement, it has been heavily utilized for making customers buy unnecessary products and consume dangerous ideas (Hirshon 1). According to Hirshon, “advertising had managed to seep into the American consciousness,” indicating the commencement of mind manipulation with visual imagery (8). The idea of world liberalization became almost a necessity for the nation because if “the United States could not avoid the world by isolating itself, it would have to transform it” (Wright 154). Although it is not a negative idea, the aggressive methods such as military intervention used by the American government led to thousands of civilians’ and soldiers’ lives lost in the armed conflicts. Advertisement of the idea of global power helped the U.S. achieve geopolitical dominance with the general population’s support, and the cost was innocent people’s lives.
As previously mentioned, the United States gained power in the global political arena due to aggressive military intervention in some countries, enabling access to these countries’ resources. However, it will be unfair to state that the U.S. used exclusively military force because the liberal international order included two other components. These components were an open economy and international collaboration to receive support from other countries (Wright 155). Cooperation with the developed European and South-East Asian countries became an asset for the U.S. in establishing its dominance. For example, American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was supported by the European Union (E.U.). In contrast, the Russian government’s equivalent military intervention in Ukraine was criticized in media and literature (Hunt 74). For instance, some scholars present a relatively subjective representation of the Russian government’s actions in Ukraine as a “danger” to the integrity of the E.U. (Sawa 34). However, the Russian economy is not large enough to compete for “hegemony in Europe and need not pose a security threat to the United States” (Wertheim). Therefore, the race for global dominance appears to be an erroneous perspective.
The costs of the global political dominance of the United States are high. Wars started by the Pentagon in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, the emergence of an anti-American disposition, economic crisis, and climate change (Wertheim). I agree with Stephen Wertheim’s article claiming that the U.S. hegemony was unnecessary and far from liberal as planned at the beginning. Instead of solving global environmental, economic, and scientific problems, financial resources are wasted on maintaining political primacy in the world (Wertheim). Moreover, I agree with the video “America Becomes a World Power” which gives an unbiased perspective on the U.S. aggressive policy to become an imperial power in the 20th century. However, the limitation of this video is that it does not provide information about the American population’s opinion about the government’s decision to become a world power. Undoubtedly, one country’s global power provides enormous benefits in shaping strategies and directions worldwide (Wright 187). However, dominating the world without resolving domestic issues seems irresponsible and against national interests. Therefore, the need for global domination should be replaced with healthy collaboration between countries to solve the world’s pressing issues.
Although the U.S. government achieved global power status, it failed to sustain the liberal nature of its actions worldwide. I think that the issue raised in the film about the growing global power of the United States in the 20th century is still valid in the present day. The American international policy became a demonstration of its military force, resulting in innocent lives lost in armed conflicts. Although the U.S.’s open economic policy and international collaboration ensured support from the E.U. and South-East Asian countries in military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, the final result harmed innocent civilians. Gaining world power in the world arena created more problems for the United States than it solved. Therefore, political dominance should be replaced with healthy competition and collaboration between the world’s largest economies to solve global issues of climate change and economic crisis.
“America in the 20th Century America Becomes a World Power.” YouTube, uploaded by Mr. Antonucci, 2020, Web.
Hirshon, Nicholas. “A “Great Power” Defended and Denounced: An Examination of Twentieth-Century Advertising and Advertising Criticism in the United States.” Journalism History, vol. 46 no. 3, 2020, pp. 265-283.
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Hunt, Edward. “The WikiLeaks Cables: How the United States Exploits the World, in Detail, from an Internal Perspective, 2001–2010.” Diplomacy & Statecraft, vol. 30 no. 1, 2019, pp. 70-98.
Sawa, Dawid. “The Influence and Role of the United States of America in Ensuring the Military Security of Central and Eastern Europe.” Revista de Științe Politice, no. 65, 2020, pp. 33-41.
Wertheim, Stephen. “The Price of Primacy: Why American Shouldn’t Dominate the World.” Foreign Affairs. 2020. Web.
Wright, Thomas. All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the Twenty-First Century and the Future of American Power. Yale University Press, 2017.