Saturday, November 08, 2008

Book Review: The Post American World


His foundational argument is unassailable: there is little that Americans have that others cannot copy, so to expect America to maintain its privileged condition is unrealistic.

The initial arguments and analysis were relatively routine. His conclusion, however, was an analysis of history I had not heard before. I've read numerous suggestions that the United States should follow Britain's example and act as a balance to other powers. The sheer weight of the United States, however, makes counter-balancing a far to delicate task, and in a world were everyone is playing by the rules, there's nothing to balance against. He suggested a Bismarkian strategy, in which the United States develops "stronger relations with every state than they have with each other."

Everyone understands hard power and soft power. I shall coin a new term. Hard imperialism and soft imperialism. A soft empire is what soft power produces. A hard imperial power forces everything to go to the imperial seat--all roads lead to Rome. A soft imperial power makes everyone want to go to the imperial seat. If there was ever a form of empire to which the United States was well suited, this is it. Individuals are all ready trying to come to America. All we must do is make states desire it as well.

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