Who Killed American Global Power?

Erik D’Amato reviews Alex Cooley and Dan Nexon’s new book, Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order in The LA Review of Books:

WHEN I SLIPPED into home isolation in late March, I started catching up on promising-looking television — especially a series called Occupied, about a creeping Russian invasion of Norway set in the near future in which the United States fails to stand up for its longtime NATO ally.

The day I started binging, the tiny former Yugoslav republic of North Macedonia became the 30th member of NATO, and it made me wonder if American citizens would really think that an attack there was — in the old principle of the alliance — an attack on them as well. Probably not

And so there’s an appropriate cover on the new study Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order by the political scientists Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon. We see Donald Trump turning his back under a buffeted American flag.

Cooley and Nexon spend a fair bit of time discussing past hegemonic orders, including important but now wonderfully obscure particulars like the Second Schmalkaldic War of 1552–1555, and defining various related theories and idioms, starting with “hegemony,” which is meant as a technical term without sinister connotation. There are also helpful reminders that the phrase “international order” itself is problematic, as the order it describes is not static but constantly shifting, and that both internationalism and nationalism, the latter expressed as national self-determination, have historically both been seen as liberal concepts.

More here. Cooley and Nexon discuss the book here.