In 1914, the USA was the world’s largest economy. The two world wars, in which the territory of the United States is sanctuarized, see the increase of its military and diplomatic power mostly against Russia. The cultural influence of the United States was further strengthened during the Cold War, from 1947 to 1991, before the question of hyperpower and its contestation was raised almost thirty years ago. What are the ways and places of US power? Between soft and hard power, how does the influence of the United States remain decisive in the world despite the challenges and competition it faces?
The places and forms of power in the USA
American power takes many forms. Since the 19th century, it has been based on the control of a territory and on the renewal. The USA has repeatedly rendered obsolete the analyses. In the face of the 1929 crisis, the defeat in Vietnam in 1975, or the attacks of September 11, 2001, are examples. What are the factors that allow this renewal of power?
Command locations on a global scale
The United States has global command centers on its territory. The headquarters of the United Nations, although located on international soil, are in New York City. A world city which, along with Wall Street, is also home to the planet’s main stock exchange. The political power of the USA, in Washington, D.C., has the largest army in the world, both in terms of the nuclear arsenal and conventional weapons. Its diplomatic network gives it global influence. Economic power is also concentrated in other centers: California alone has a GDP that would make it the fifth-largest economy in the world. As for the United States, it has the largest GDP in the world, with $20,500 billion.
Places of technological innovation
The United States remains a center of innovation with little competition in the world. That means if we consider all the sectors involved. This smart power is asserted in certain places. The industries link the major universities in the USA. They are located in each of the three major urban areas of the United States. Ex: Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Harvard in the East Coast megalopolis, and the University of Chicago in the Great Lakes region. The large innovative companies are concentrated in the same places, but there is a strong concentration in California, in Silicon Valley, near San Francisco. The headquarters of Google, or Googleplex, and Facebook are located there, forming large complexes that centralize data from around the world.
Places of cultural influence
The cultural influence of the USA is in certain places that are centers of production of cultural products for the masses. These mainstream products do not exclude the existence of American high culture. However, they constitute the essence of the country’s cultural influence. Hollywood studios produce an average of 500 films a year and in 2016 made $50 billion. Superheroes spread the values of the USA everywhere. For example, these studios that having more power days and nights. As for Disney’s headquarters in California, it broadcasts productions around the world that shape the values and aesthetics of younger generations. The large theme parks of Disneyland and Disney World are major centers of tourism in the United States.