A White Man’s World

Perhaps the main reason as to why not just American foreign policy but Western foreign policy in general is not undergoing the change and the paradigm shift that is needed in the face of a changing and evolving political and social reality is because of its cultural dimension. Arguably, the sustained effort at cultural hegemony on the part of the Western elite is still very much at the heart of western relations vis-à-vis non-western nations. If these relations were oriented solely towards economic and security interests, there perhaps would be no problems or tensions in these relations whatsoever. Such economic and security interests can be aligned through diplomacy and engagement. But the sustained effort at cultural hegemony is what complicates matters, and it spurs the problems and tensions between western and non-western countries which we are witnessing today. The attempt to eradicate and whitewash the cultures and identities of virtually all non-western countries except for Israel ultimately has to be abandoned if there is to be an improvement in what is now a rocky and volatile global situation. 

Part of the reason for why cultural hegemony is the basic theme or leitmotif of Western foreign relations comes down to the demographics of the American state itself. Somewhere between 95 to 98 percent of executive and leadership positions in American multinational corporations are occupied by white males. One can then overcome the appearance of diversity and inclusion in places like the ‘State Department’ in addition to overcoming propaganda and the tricky mainstream liberal-conservative bifurcation or dichotomy and in turn determine and measure both the true degree and level of diversity and inclusion as well as the true degree and level of racism and sexism in the overall American system. Using the demographics of the executive and leadership level of American multinational corporations as a sample to assess the true degree and level of diversity, inclusion, racism, and sexism in the overall American system is smart, given that multinational corporations make up “the state within the American state” to borrow from Steve Coll. 

But as mentioned before, there are three “historical trends” which underlie current events. For one, there is a “demystification” of European culture which is occurring on an ongoing basis. Second, the phenomenon of “decolonization” and the rise of China has put a dent in the conventional approach on the part of Western capitals towards non-western nations. And third, the United States wields a great deal of the world’s economic clout, but the United States is also in a state of political and social evolution. America – like the rest of the world for the last few decades – was also under the grip of a censorious and whitewashing liberal-hegemonic system. But globalization as well as the changes and evolutions in technology have loosened the grip of ‘liberal hegemony’ not only outside of the United States, but in the United States as well. Thus, political and social phenomena such as Donald Trump and many others have to be assessed and viewed within a much broader political and social context, namely, a context with global scale and scope that is defined in large part by the loosening of the grip which “liberal hegemony” has had and has exploited for many decades over the international system. In turn, this grip can only be loosened even further, given the ongoing acquisition of both knowledge and information around the world. 

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