By William R. Nester (auth.)
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Additional info for American Power, the New World Order and the Japanese Challenge
States, at a minimum, "seek their own preserva- Power and International Relations 41 tion, and, at a maximum, drive for universal domination". But whether states either attempt to protect or disrupt the international status quo, they are regardless obsessed with ensuring national survival. I n an anarchic system, states are constrained only by their interaction with other states in the system. There is a clear hierarchy of issues in a "realist" world as "high political" issues of security and diplomacy push aside "low political" issues of commerce and welfare.
Likewise, states with reputations for duplicity are unlikely to find willing allies or favorable international agreements. Since the early 1960s, J a p a n has repeatedly claimed to have "liberalized" its markets so that they are now the world's most open foreign firms supposedly do not sell more in J a p a n because they do not try hard enough and their products are inferior. In reality, J a p a n ' s markets remain carefully managed and foreign access strictly limited by webs of import barriers.
By tolerating these free riders, the hegemon inevitably sows the seeds of its future decline. The more powerful the free rider, the more rapid the hegemon's economic decline. In the early 20th century, the United States free rode itself to hegemony on the back of Britain's tremendous economic, political, and military burdens; Japan, in turn has supplanted American hegemony with its own through its neomercantilist policies since 1945. A hegemon's tenure over the global political economy depends on its ability to root its global commitments in economic dynamism.
American Power, the New World Order and the Japanese Challenge by William R. Nester (auth.)