Charles A. Kupchan: America’s Place in the New World
Charles A. Kupchan is a professor of international relations at Georgetown, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of “No One’s World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn.”
...The most potent challenge to America’s dominance comes not from the continuing redistribution of global power, but from a subtler change: the new forms of governance and capitalism being forged by China and other rising nations.
The democratic, secular and free-market model that has become synonymous with the era of Western primacy is being challenged by state capitalism in China, Russia and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms. Political Islam is rising in step with democracy across the Middle East. And left-wing populism is taking hold from India to Brazil. Rather than following the West’s path of development and obediently accepting their place in the liberal international order, rising nations are fashioning their own versions of modernity and pushing back against the West’s ideological ambitions.
As this century unfolds, sustaining American power will be the easy part. The hard part will be adjusting to the loss of America’s ideological dominance and fashioning consensus and compromise in an increasingly diverse and unwieldy world....
This transition won’t be easy. Since the founding era, the American elite and the public have believed in the universality of their model. The end of the cold war only deepened this conviction; after the collapse of the Soviet Union, democratic capitalism seemed the only game in town. But the supposed “end of history” didn’t last. Many developing nations have recently acquired the economic and political wherewithal to consolidate brands of modernity that present durable alternatives....
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