Deputy Secretary-General : Ahaan Jindal
“It isn't pleasant to surrender to the hegemony of a nation which is still wild and primitive, and to concede the absolute superiority of its customs and institutions, science and technology, literature and art. Must one sacrifice so much in the name of the unity of mankind?”
- Czeslaw Milosz
Dear delegates and MUN directors,
The 21st- century is one that has heralded the collapse of the Westphalian world order, with the meteoric rise of globalization promoting economic interdependence, greater global connections, and relative peace when compared to the tumult of centuries past.
What lies at the heart of this stability, however, is predominance. Predominance by leaders, by firms, by non-state actors, by states themselves, and by sovereign bodies.
From the very inception of governance, the annals of history reveal hegemony as an inherent socio-political and economic construct. The etymology of the word, “hegemony”, itself stems from Greek roots, referring to Athens’s preponderance when compared to other cities in Greece. Naturally, manifestations of hegemony have evolved over time, exemplified by how the Middle Ages saw the establishment of Caliphates and Empires centered on religious grounds, while the ensuing centuries experienced the wave of European imperialism, fuelled by industrial development and the command of the High Seas. The twilight of the World Wars had no “hyperpower,” but rather multiple Great Powers seeking to become regional hegemonies. Two distinct spheres of control come to the forefront of a bipolar world in the ensuing Cold War era, a product of ideological warfare between the USA and the USSR.
However, the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union by 1991 – and Bush’s watershed declaration of a “new world order” – ushered an era of unipolarity, with the USA emerging as the sole power. Or did it?
The 21st- century geopolitical landscape has given rise to a multitude of varying manifestations and perceptions of hegemony. And with good reason – the denouement of a post-colonial and globalized world has culminated in a multitude of entities wielding some form of control on a local, national, and global scale. Look no further than the insidiously-growing regional influence of violent extremist groups in Africa, the neo-colonialistic tendencies of ex-European colonizers, or China’s expanding economic influence as a result of debt-trap diplomacy tactics. The implications of this influence across the geopolitical spectrum are as multifaceted as hegemonies themselves: some hegemonies are credited for consolidating stability, while others inflict oppression and use exploitation as a means to stay in power.
Perceptions of hegemonies have therefore progressed concurrently with their ever-evolving nature. It is in this context that Milosz’s view of hegemony as a concept that erodes “customs and institutions” was birthed, and it is also in this context that one can argue that it doesn’t. Could a world with hegemony be a world with prosperity, enabling nations to reserve their sovereignty whilst also promoting multilateralist collaboration? Could it alternatively also devolve into one rife with conflict, suppression, and heavily-tilted power balances? Or could it be an amalgamation of both? Do we have a need to regulate or even eliminate hegemonies?
These complexities, ultimately, are those that will define the role of hegemonism in the 21st Century. And it is only through the discussion, dissent, and debate amongst nations and sovereign-bodies alike that these complexities can be resolved.
Delegates, establishing the role of hegemonies in our times demands thoughtful consideration and painstaking deliberation, both of which only you can provide.
Your burden here is simple. The stage for DAIMUN 2022 is set.
Deputy Secretary General