Robert Kagan on Why the World Needs America

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Robert Kagan on Why the World Needs America

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1Bretzky1
Editat: feb. 11, 2012, 7:34pm

Robert Kagan, adviser to Mitt Romney, has an essay online at wsj.com today about why, in his opinion, the world might be in trouble if the U.S. pulls back from its hegemonic position.

The money quote is:
The present world order was largely shaped by American power and reflects American interests and preferences. If the balance of power shifts in the direction of other nations, the world order will change to suit their interests and preferences. Nor can we assume that all the great powers in a post-American world would agree on the benefits of preserving the present order, or have the capacity to preserve it, even if they wanted to.

While I think Kagan is being a bit dramatic and overselling the issue a bit, he does have a very important point to make about one thing in particular, which is that, assuming the U.S. does lose its spot as a hegemon to some other state, whatever state takes the U.S.'s spot will have a large influence on the future shape of the international order.

I'm not as sanguine as G. John Ikenberry, who Kagan references in the essay, regarding the international order's ability to survive a substantial diminution of American/Western power vis-a-vis China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc. But nor am I as pessimistic as Kagan seems to be. Between the two, I probably lean closer to Ikenberry if only because I doubt that any state will truly be able to overtake the U.S. in terms of combined military and economic power to the point of becoming a hegemon without first going through a period of political liberalization, which should, in theory at least, make that state more desirous of maintaining the current international order. Without political liberalization the best that I think China can hope for is a return to the bipolar world that existed from about 1949 to 1989.

2Bretzky1
feb. 23, 2012, 12:54pm

Although it's not directly on point to Kagan's essay in the Wall Street Journal, Leon T. Hadar has a rather brutal critique of Kagan at Huff Post.
It is quite depressing to see that despite the fact that Kagan the geo-strategist has been so wrong in the past and helped to contribute so much to the decline in American power, he continues to be taken seriously by American policymakers and the media.

That's about as nasty as it gets in the policy world--at least publicly.

3krolik
feb. 24, 2012, 4:46am

>3 krolik:

That's about as nasty as it gets in the policy world--at least publicly.

Probably depressingly true, and a testimony to how incestuous this world is, in terms of careerism and group think.