A hegemon can be defined as a paramount power or state that can influence the course of events globally (free dictionary, 2008). By this very definition, America qualifies to be referred to as a hegemon. Since the collapse of the Cold War, the US has emerged as the most powerful nation on earth. Its influence is felt in the political, economic and military realms where its hegemony remains largely unchallenged.
US administrations have not shied away from flexing their power and this has been increasing experienced in political matters where the US has pushed its agenda for new world order based on democratic ideals. No country is above the law. However, because of their position globally, powerful nations do at times take actions that are in direct contravention of laid down rules and procedures. In its attempt to democratize the world, the US has acted as though it was above international law. The invasion of Iraq is a case in point.
Despite the Security Council’s condemnation of the planned invasion, the US and Britain went ahead to wage war and eventually topple Sadamm. President Chirac of France spoke out strongly against the trend by the US in taking unilateral decisions that contravened international law as it could set off a bad precedent (Litchfield, 2003). The detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is a blatant disregard of the Geneva Convention that stipulates how prisoners of war are to be treated (UNHCR, 2008).
By torturing the detainees and denying them their rights, the US has chosen to ignore international laws set up by the Commonwealth of Nations (Leonnig and Mintz, 2004) In summary, the US has taken advantage of its hegemonic status to carry out illegal acts as per international law. These actions do not augur well for international cooperation and peace as other nations will be tempted to act unilaterally and in direct contravention of the same laws that are meant to ensure world stability
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