From the jaded, not to say cynical, observer of international politics, the passing of the American Century elicits a more ambivalent response. I’d like to believe that the United States will accept the outcome gracefully. Rather than attempting to resurrect Luce’s expansive vision, I’d prefer to see American policy makers attend to the looming challenges of multipolarity. Averting the serial catastrophes that befell the planet starting just about 100 years ago, when the previous multipolar order began to implode, should keep them busy enough. But I suspect that’s not going to happen. The would-be masters of the universe orbiting around the likes of Romney and Obama won’t be content to play such a modest role. With the likes of Robert Kagan as their guide—”It’s a wonderful world order,” he writes in his new book, The World America Made (Knopf)—they will continue to peddle the fiction that with the right cast of characters running Washington, history will once again march to America’s drumbeat. Evidence to support such expectations is exceedingly scarce—taken a look at Iraq lately?—but no matter. Insiders and would-be insiders will insist that, right in their hip pocket, they’ve got the necessary strategy.
more from Andrew J. Bacevich at The Chronicle of Higher Education here.