How do you pronounce hegemony?

Security policy

Joachim Krause

To person

Dr. phil., Dipl.-Pol., born 1951; o. Professor of Political Science at the University of Kiel.
Address: Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel (ISUK), Olshausenstr. 40, 24098 Kiel.
Email: [email protected]

Publications including: (Ed.) Kosovo - Humanitarian Intervention and Cooperative Security, Opladen 2000; The OSCE and Cooperative Security in Europe, Singapore 2003.

On the transatlantic debate about the global reorganization

The article deals with various models of order for international relations. These have become more topical than ever, especially after the Iraq war.


The Iraq war plunged the Western Alliance into a deep crisis. It also deals with questions of international order. If you follow the relevant contributions in Europe, you get the impression that it is a question of choosing between multilateral order and hegemony. Multilateral order, that is what the Europeans wanted: the predominance of law and the recognition of the primacy of the United Nations. Hegemony is what the US is pursuing under the current Bush administration, a kind of institutionalized form of American domination. According to Ernst-Otto Czempiel, it is only the Europeans who are interested in establishing order. The US is concerned with world domination, but not with order, at best with the forcible imposition of an American order that is not an international order. [1] J├╝rgen Habermas diagnoses the shattering of the international authority of the USA and predicts the failure of the "imperial liberalism" of the Bush administration. [2]

The assertion of this contradiction between the powers of order in Europe (supported by the powers of order Russia and China) on the one hand and the USA, which challenges the international order through its power politics, on the other hand, is politically tangible. However, reality cannot be squeezed into this simple explanatory scheme. The assertion of presumption of power quickly comes off the lips, but anyone who knows the United States and follows the politics there knows that such fundamental allegations bypass the political reality. There is much to criticize about the current Bush administration, but the fundamental allegations currently being made in Germany are unjustified. If one does not want to turn the USA into a new enemy image, then one should proceed in a more differentiated manner and analyze the motivations of the USA and its allies with the necessary care. After all, the US administration as well as the British government argued quite conclusively on the occasion of the Iraq crisis that they are acting in the interests of the international order of collective security. [3] It is much more natural to ask whether there are fundamental differences in the international regulatory ideas between the USA and Great Britain on the one hand and the mainland Europeans gathered around France and Germany on the other, who now proudly call themselves "old Europeans".

In order to be able to answer this, one must first ask oneself what is meant by the term international order. This term is mostly used in an undifferentiated manner in everyday political language. In addition, depending on the theoretical positioning, there are different ideas of what the essence of the international order is. These different basic concepts are presented first. On this basis, an attempt should be made to locate the different concepts of political order in the USA on the one hand and so-called "old Europe" on the other.