Hence, our search for an alternative approach towards the understanding and practice of international affairs and for the intellectual and philosophical vindication and validation of something other than the “hegemony or die” mentality and paradigm of international affairs which has guided Washington’s whole-of-government policy for the last few decades is wholly rational and scientific. Whereas the philosophical underpinnings of an alternative approach to international affairs are balance and equilibrium, the philosophical underpinnings of a “hegemony or die” mentality and paradigm towards international affairs which has gripped Washington as of late are black magic and superstition when we consider what we have covered up until this point.
Ultimately, either black magic and superstition have to prevail, or science and truth have to prevail in our discourse and practice of international affairs. In a sense, the only real comparative advantage which the United States still wields vis-à-vis the rest of world amidst the ongoing process of globalization is freedom. But it is exactly the conventional mentality and paradigm of “hegemony or die” and the black magic and superstitious discourse and thinking which underpins such a mentality and paradigm which in turn acts as the biggest hindrance, obstacle, and threat to our one comparative advantage over the rest of the world, namely, freedom.
Also, if our alternative approach towards international affairs is to have a rational and scientific basis, it must conform to certain dimensions and elements of empirical methodology and science. In a sense, the basic philosophical underpinnings of our discourse and practice of international affairs emerge from our obedience and acquiescence to specific dimensions and elements of empirical methodology and science, even though empirical methodology and science are merely springboards for a higher form of knowledge and intelligence.
For one, there is the issue of our epistemological status. We have spoken about the issue of epistemology at length in the past. And as evinced by our previous discussions on the issue of epistemology, our epistemological status and the “epistemic regime” which we are espousing depend largely on where we stand amidst the hierarchy of human faculties. Second, there is the scope of our inquiry and research which injects rational and scientific vigor to our discourse and practice. And third, there is the ultimate source.
Without any acquiescence or obedience to what are perhaps the three most basic dimensions and elements of thorough and valid empirical methodology and inquiry, neither the status quo can sustain itself and nor can an alternative discourse and practice of international affairs gain a firm grounding. For the status quo, these three dimensions and elements are a means of salvation, whereas for our alternative discourse and practice, these three dimensions and elements are a steppingstone for an ascension into a hierarchy of human faculties and knowledge which enable us to transcend the confines and limitations of empirical discourse and practice and thus transcend the “hegemony or die” mentality and paradigm of international affairs.
In sum, a balance of power logic and thus the alternative to the “hegemony or die” approach towards international affairs combines both the basic benchmarks and basic standards of empirical methodology and inquiry with a set of logical rules, with the most important logical rules being appearance and reality, necessity and contingency, and cause and effect. And for those who are seeking an alternative approach to the discourse and practice of international affairs, these aforementioned points can perhaps serve as a starting point and springboard for a conversion towards an alternative approach.