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Sticky Power

Sticky power is an article by Walter Russell Mead who is the senior fellow for Henry A. Kissinger in the United States foreign policy. The policy is found on the Council on Foreign relations. Sticky power is different from the other types of powers, and it does not occur through military compulsion. It can be compared to a carnivorous plant that approaches its prey using soft power that is usually a sweet scent. When the insect gets on the sap, it gets stuck and cannot move, and the concept can be used to explain the functioning of economic paper. From ancient times, sticky power was used especially by the US and Britain to attract other countries economically. In the 19th Century, Britain influenced the United States in to carrying out its system of trade. The US got investment capital from London financial market to lend a hand in the expansion of the American industries. Americans enjoying free trading in the British Empire, and the global trade of the US depended on its friendship with Britain. If the fiscal acquaintance got ruined total trade fail in the US would be experienced. That meant that the US always avoided any reasons that would bring about war between the two countries. During the war of 1812, the relationship almost subsided especially between New England and reliable strong merchants were ruined.

The war between the two powers adversely affected the US, and it was not able to trade as it used to before the conflicts. The occurrences of the acclaimed depression and the two World Wars left a scar in the American economy, and trading system that earlier existed. The US needed to restructure the legal, political, and monetary base framework that was in use, in the global economic system. United States struggled to form its sticky power through free trade and use of an international monetary policy. In 1944, an agreement that set the US dollar as the world’s central currency was made.

The Federal Reserve in the US would alter the orders supplied depending on the economic needs. For over 30 years, the strategy led to price stability and increased monetary base. The economic conditions of Japan and West countries were transformed, and when the system collapsed in 1973, an economic crisis was looming. New floating exchange rates were developed, and the dollar regained its value in the 1980’s. This solved the crisis that had been caused by the disintegration of the system, and only showed the extent of sticky power that the US acquired.

Through economic integration and acceptance of free trade, United States was on its way to economic triumph over other powers. They helped struggling countries build institutions that would help regain America’s global trade.  Consultants and bankers were sent all over the world to jump-start foreign investment, and build financial institutions. The US system was supported by many nations due to its willingness to create an open market. It did not discriminate the poor countries or imports from Japan and Europe. The dollar acted as a global currency reserve and played a chief role in escalation of the global economy, as well as acting a last resort for consumers. The US had a numerous market that had deficits, which led more fabrication from the rest of the world. This had an overall prosperity effect on other countries, and foreign investors were willing t trade in the US led economy. The US was on the peak of achieving its sticky power as most nations depended on United States for their economic survival.

However, the US traders opposed the opening of the domestic market citing foreign competition. More trade deficits developed in the US, causing uncertainties of the future economical condition in the country. Predictions are made that value of the dollar would undergo a crisis if the US relied significantly on foreign lending.

United States gives financial lending to many nations, a similar strategy to that used by the Bank of England to acquire financial and political strength.

In both cases, sticky power is displayed in different levels, and the influence on the global economy also varies. The wealthy and powerful Englishmen purchased a stock of debt and were involved in creating a stable government to ensure the debt remained valuable. In the US, its constitution was highly supported by the wealthy citizens from the 13 colonies. This was because the value of bonds they had acquired depended on the potential of the government. Foreigners have continued to invest in the United States both in personal and government owned bonds. As a result, the US led system has been widely accepted, and a collapse in the value of the dollar would have dire effects. A collapse in the US as a global economic leader would lead to financial crisis in other nations who are their paramount customers, like Japan and China. Debt is hence considered as strength and foreign nations fear breaking their relations with the US. The US hence largely enjoys sticky power in controlling the global economy.

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