American Hegemony Under Revision

V. G. Kiernan


At the end of the Second World War the United States was ready though the American people was very unready-to take on the hegemony of the non-socialist world. It had already during the war assumed the leadership of a large part of it, the saner sectors of capitalism against the wilder. War accelerated its rise by crippling all the rest; it was not however crippling capitalism, but rather liberating it from out-of-date moulds, cutting away its feudal links in Germany and Japan with military adventure, which for capitalism ought to be only an adjunct of the pursuit of profit, not its substitute. World capitalism was left a good deal more homogeneous, more purely bourgeois as in the United States it had always been. But world capitalism was for the time being badly shaken by its civil war, and in need of a shepherd; also of a shining example, a proof that "free enterprise" really could still work. America possessed moreover a dominance not only total in the economic sphere but, for the first time, in the military as well.

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