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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasWhat Happens When America is No Longer the Undisputed Super Power?

What Happens When America is No Longer the Undisputed Super Power?

Authors: Mathew Burrows, Robert A. Manning

Affiliation: Atlantic Council

Organization/Publisher: The National Interest

Date/Place: August 17, 2020/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 4456


Keywords: United States, China, Primacy, World Order, Super Power


The authors in this article criticize a report entitled “The End of World Order and American Foreign Policy” written by Robert Blackwill and Thomas Wright.  One of the chief flawed assumptions in that report is to consider that perpetual US primacy is both desirable and possible, and that the US is an absolutely necessary nation; however, Blackwill and Wright do little to talk about its diminished stature over time. The United States has been mismanaging the global system, and through its democracy-promotion programs it has brought no peace but only damage and destruction. The never ending conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan should have been an awakening for the world, but the smoke screen of “humanitarian intervention” helped the US with a free escape from accountability. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the US’s decline looks pretty convincible. What Blackwill and Wright’s strategy fails to recognize is that the US has a broken political system and on top of that the public’s sense of distrust is increasing. Trump’s government and its “America First” foreign policy has made the loopholes more visible by being more overtly racist than ever before, which is giving China a good opportunity to spread its influence. There remains a broad desire for credible US leadership, but for that they need to move beyond the narrative of US primacy and take the approach of sharing power and responsibility. As an example, the authors question the US imposing itself as the guardian of Persian Gulf oil when it mainly goes to China, Japan and India.

By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant



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