he-ge-mo-ny : n : preponderant influence or authority esp. of one nation over others.
Quelle surprise to hear Tricky Dick Cheney use this word in reference to Iran this week. As in: Iran seeks hegemony over the entire Middle East and we won’t tolerate that (I’m paraphrasing here, but not much). While Mr. Bush wandered away looking for his dictionary (“Damnit, Dick, I TOLD you no big words I’ll just mispronounce later!”), Cheney jumped onto the speaker’s podium and set us up for another war. Oh, we’ll blame it on Iran alrighty, but let’s be real about the whole thing. Cheney is just angry that Iran has the nerve to want us out of their neighborhood. Hegemony is OUR game, daggone it; we thought of it first and intend to rule the whole world. Does anyone see the irony of Dick’s speech here? Probably not. Probably, and sadly, most Americans don’t know what “hegemony” is, and the few who do seem to think we have the right to it anyway.
We are like the neighbor’s big, overgrown, idiot son armed with a huge baseball bat. Yeah, everyone is scared of us because we’re big and we’re armed with a huge baseball bat. They can’t reason with us because we’re, well, idiots. All they can do is either hope they don’t have any good toys we want to bully them out of or try to build a big enough fence to keep us out of their yard.