This paper provides a detailed analysis of hegemony, and how it can be used to explain the concepts of international relations. In meeting its objective, this paper will analyze the dimension of hegemony, and how it can be used to explain relations in the International System. The researcher will use the hegemonic stability theory, in meeting the objectives of this paper.
There are at least five important characteristics that shape the concept of hegemony. Kleinberg (2011) explains that hegemony is more than exercising domination over other states, and this is because it has characteristics that must be depicted in a hegemon. One such important characteristic is that it must have a strong military or militaristic alliance. This is when compared to any of its rivals. During the cold war period, there wasn’t any single Hegemonic state, and this is because of the competition between the USSR and the United States. Both these countries had a strong military that was not superior to another (Daddow, 2013). Furthermore, their military alliances were strong. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and an end to the cold war, the United States remained a hegemonic power (Rengger, 2000). This is because it had a strong military, and the strongest alliance, under NATO (Daddow, 2013). Economics is also another important dimension of a hegemonic state.
A hegemon has the most technologically advanced economy in the world, and it is large. Furthermore, it is an important trading partner of almost all the major powers in the world, and other lesser powers. This characteristic is best depicted in the United States. The country, with a population of more than 200 million people, is economically advanced, and it is an important trading partner of the European Union, and China (Rengger, 2000). The European Union and China are not the only trading partners of the United States. Other trading partners are in Africa, South and North Korea, and in the Middle East. For example, in a bid of .promoting trade between the United States and Africa, the federal government initiated the AGOA initiative (Dunne, Kurki and Smith, 2013). .