The use of the word hegemony in relation to the United States has now become a commonplace of the analysis of international relations. Pundits, such as Charles Krauthammer, talk blithely of a ‘unipolar moment’ politicians such as Madeleine Albright spoke of America as the ‘indispensable nation’; myriad books outline how the US became a hegemon and might yet decline. The widespread use of the term hegemony - or even, in some contexts, its close cousin ‘empire’ - are in the public discourse over the place of the US in the international system. Much of this is traceable to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the implosion of the Soviet Empire. The US is generally perceived to have emerged from that particular conflict as the victor, its values victorious, its strategies and tactics seemingly vindicated (Buzan, 2004).
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