Power and Willpower in the American Future : Why the United States Is Not Destined to Decline
To argue against the widely proclaimed idea of American decline might seem a lonely task. After all, the problems are real and serious. Yet if we take a longer view, much of the discourse about decline appears exaggerated, hyperbolic and ahistorical. Why? First, because of the deep underlying strengths of the United States. These include not only size, population, demography and resources, but also the scale and importance of its economy and financial markets, its scientific research and technology, its competitiveness, its military power and its attractiveness to talented immigrants. Second, there is the weight of history and of American exceptionalism. Throughout its history, the United States has repeatedly faced and eventually overcome daunting challenges and crises. Contrary to a prevailing pessimism, there is nothing inevitable about American decline. Ultimately, the ability to avoid serious decline is less a question of material factors than of policy, leadership and political will.
- Electronic book text
- 20 May 2012
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 3 b/w illus. 4 tables
Table of contents
1. The American future: problems of primacy, policy, and purpose; 2. Domestic and global interactions: economics, energy, and American power; 3. American attitudes and institutions; 4. Threats to persistent primacy and the rise of others; 5. Stretch or 'imperial overstretch'; 6. Power and willpower in the American future.
'The United States is experiencing another bout of anxiety regarding its relative power. While he is sober about the challenges confronting the nation, Robert Lieber makes a convincing case that, as in the past, fears of American decline will prove to have been greatly exaggerated. The United States has the resources necessary to continue to play the part of the world's preponderant power; the question is whether its leaders, and its people, will have the necessary wisdom and resolve. On this count, as Lieber makes plain, there is every reason for optimism.' Aaron L. Friedberg, Princeton University 'If there is anything that commands general agreement today it is that the US is declining. Lieber shows that much of the reasoning and claims here are not only superficial, but flatly wrong. His argument that the US has the economic and political resources to play the leading role in world if it chooses to do so deserves attention by scholars and members of the concerned public.' Robert Jervis, Columbia University, and author of American Foreign Policy in a New Era 'There is so much facile soothsaying on America's future as a has-been - as there was in the past four waves of Declininism since Sputnik. [Power and Willpower in the American Future] is a much-needed counter to the fifth wave, written by one of the country's authoritative scholars of U.S. foreign policy.' Josef Joffe, Stanford University, and Editor, Die Zeit (Germany) 'Robert Lieber offers a wise and lucid rebuttal to hyperbolic reports of American decline. His expertise on energy policy, Europe and the Middle East all shines through, as does his long (and positive) view of American exceptionalism. He recognizes China's challenge but notes that Beijing faces looming problems of its own and still falls well short of being America's peer competitor. The real bulwarks against decline, he argues, are America's vast moral and material resources and its historic resilience. In this well-researched book, Lieber offers a bracing challenge to the declinist literature and its policy prescriptions.' Charles Lipson, Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago 'Robert Lieber's clear, concise, and provocative analysis will become the starting point for the debate about the most important global issue of the next ten years: the future of American power in the world.' Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and co-author of That Used To Be Us 'A writer of the clearest prose, his new book deserves a place at the top of the must-read list of everyone concerned about the nation we love ...' Belladonna Rogers, The PJ Tatler, PJ Media
About Robert J. Lieber
Robert J. Lieber is Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, where he previously served as Chair of the Government Department and Interim Chair of Psychology. He is an authority on American foreign policy and US relations with the Middle East and Europe. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin and his PhD at Harvard, and he has held fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has also taught at Harvard, Oxford and the University of California, Davis, and has been Visiting Fellow at the Atlantic Institute in Paris, the Brookings Institution in Washington and Fudan University in Shanghai. Professor Lieber is the author of The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century and is also the author or editor of fourteen other books on international relations, US foreign policy and energy security. He has been an advisor in several presidential campaigns. His articles and op-eds have appeared in leading scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. His media appearances have included The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS TV, ABC's Good Morning America, NBC and CBS network news, The O'Reilly Factor, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera and other radio and TV programs in Europe, the Arab world and Israel.