US Is A Global Superpower. Will It Remain So?
Is the world order which emerged after World War II disappearing? Maybe so. But, foreign policy analyst Robert Kagan contends, it would not be as a result of a decline in US strength. Rather, it is a consequence of a lack of “identity and purpose” that is the cause of the weakening.
“If a breakdown in the world order that America made is occurring, it is not because America’s power is declining—America’s wealth, power, and potential influence remain adequate to meet the present challenges. It is not because the world has become more complex and intractable—the world has always been complex and intractable. And it is not simply war-weariness,” says Kagan, who lays the responsibility at the feet of Americans and their political leaders in both parties, who “have either forgotten or rejected the assumptions that undergirded American foreign policy for the past seven decades.”
To understand today’s global environment Kagan provides a detailed and thorough recap of the last century of foreign engagements and disengagements.
He notes that a century that was defined by a global struggle for freedom and democracy has come full circle as the number of democracies today is fewer than years ago.
“If these trends continue, in the near future we are likely to see increasing conflict, increasing wars over territory, greater ethnic and sectarian violence, and a shrinking world of democracies,” unless Americans can be inspired to step up to take on the challenge – as it did against Hitler.
If the US does not respond to the challenge, Kagan contends, “the world will change much more quickly than [the American people] imagine. And there is no democratic superpower waiting in the wings to save the world if this democratic superpower falters.”
Are We Better Off Today?
In his book, How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?, Bjorn Lomborg, who is best known as a climate change skeptic, takes the position that today the world is richer, freer, healthier, and smarter than it’s ever been.
However, Lomborg rightly adds, all is not perfect. Despite billions of dollars spent on “development assistance,” much of the third world remains in poverty. While acknowledging that climate change is occurring, he suggests funding other priorities—curing AIDS for instance—would be a better use of the resources.
Globalization And The Digital Economy
The New America Foundation recently held a discussion about globalization, trade and connectivity in a digitized economy with a focus on how risks could be minimized to ensure an equity in benefits across society.
To listen to the event, please visit the archived talk on the Foundation’s Event page.