Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Niall Ferguson Sees American Century Continuing

Niall Ferguson, the British historian and author of Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (2005), has written a column for The Washington Post, "Rough Week, But America's Era Goes On," in which he contends that despite the country's economic weaknesses, "it is much too early to conclude that the American century is over."

As usual with Professor Ferguson's writings, his ideas are well-informed and thought-provoking. (In Colossus, for example, he argued that the U.S. should be an empire, but doesn't have the rights mental stuff for it--we are "an empire in denial.") However, as might be expected from the title of my book, I can't agree with his assessment.

He rightly calls attention to the economic weakness of the United States, and our dependence on others, especially the Chinese, for the underwriting of our huge debts. But he underestimates the broad-based nature of U.S. decline, which stretches far beyond the economic realm. He cites the British journalist who wonders why the U.S. should now be the world's model for economic development, and indeed, polls around the world show that America has already lost that reputation. Furthermore, even the U.S. political system and its very political ideals are being questioned around the world, as revealed in polls by the Pew Center, among others.

The U.S. no longer compares favorably with other developed countries on measures of health care, education, poverty, inequality, violence, corruption, and political participation. We have lost not only lost our ability to dictate global politics, but lost the "soft power" influence that led other countries to admire and emulate us.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait till the World demands that the United States back it's "Fiat" currency with hard Assets! The laughable "In God We Trust" will no longer Cut it!! Fort Knox has long been tapped out and the last time they inventoried their Gold Reserves was in 1952. I wonder how long it will take to count a facade wall of Gold. I predict the massive evaporation of electronic U.S. currency as it loses it's status as the World's Reserve currency!