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It makes a lot more sense to listing to a meaningless harangue from an Iranian, or Cuban, or Venezuelan, or Libyan leader than to have to go to war against them. Talking is just better than shooting most of the time as a basic imperial policy. The institutions don't have to accomplish anything other than to prevent nations to trying to shoot at the US, so anything else they might also achieve, or not, are gravy.
Such a string of decisions exists for the European powers. But there is a change of management upcoming in Europe, because the current management has made denial of easily observed reality a major plank of its political program. And the new management may or may not continue to view a special Atlantic relationship as being in Europe's best interest.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
An alternative would be Karl Schmitt's solution to the problem of determining who is actually the sovereign power. (In his framework there is only one truly sovereign power in a given international system, so it is comparable to the use of "hegemon" in this discussion.) The sovereign power is the one that can break its own rules that it expects of everyone else in the system without actually undermining the institutional framework of the system for everyone else.
I would say this is an understatement. Of course breaking the rules erodes ("undermines") the legitimacy of the "sovereign". It's just that it takes a lot of undermining for the sovereign to lose sufficient legitimacy for it to lose its hegemony.
Every time the sovereign uses its position to avoid the consequences of breakign the rules it increases the disaffection of its clients. And sovereigns derive their power from the consent of the governed.
guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
That's problematic because determining "national interest" is a subjective exercise.
On both grounds, it is fairly obvious that the European Atlanticists and that neoliberals anywhere are not advancing the national interest.
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