What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home? And is America really in decline? Robert Kagan, New York Times best-selling author and one of the country’s most influential strategic thinkers, paints a vivid, alarming picture of what the world might look like if the United States were truly to let its influence wane.
Although Kagan asserts that much of the current pessimism is misplaced, he warns that if America were indeed to commit “preemptive superpower suicide,” the world would see the return of war among rising nations as they jostle for power; the retreat of democracy around the world as Vladimir Putin’s Russia and authoritarian China acquire more clout; and the weakening of the global free-market economy, which the United States created and has supported for more than sixty years. We’ve seen this before—in the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I.
Potent, incisive, and engaging, The World America Made is a reminder that the American world order is worth preserving, and America dare not decline.
In his intelligent, cogent, and timely newest (after The Return of History and the End of Dreams), Kagan explores the modern world as fashioned by America which, despite the various crises around the globe, enjoys higher levels of democracy than ever, and has seen billions of people ushered out of poverty , and the consequences if the superpower of the last six decades were to take a step back. Asserting that "History shows that world orders are transient," Kagan cites the obvious example of the fall of the Roman Empire to illustrate that even the most assured nations are subject to the great tides of history and politics. And while Kagan avows that all powers must eventually cede their authority to a successor, he maintains that how and when America chooses to do this (it isn't any time soon, in Kagan's estimation) will have the greatest impact on the post-American world. "The irony is that the success of the American world order has made it possible for so many people to believe that it can be transcended, that American power may no longer be necessary to sustain it." Though the author supports a liberal world order and believes one is possible, he goes on to argue that such a world order will not be brought about by a trend in post-nationalism; rather, it will be upheld by liberal nations America being the foremost among them. 75,000 announced first printing.