The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century

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Refuting the conventional wisdom that the end of the Cold War cleared the way for an era of peace and prosperity led solely by the United States, Charles A. Kupchan contends that the next challenge to America’s might is fast emerging. It comes not from the Islamic world or an ascendant China, but from an integrating Europe that is rising as a counterweight to the United States. Decades of strategic partnership across the Atlantic are giving way to renewed geopolitical competition. The waning of U.S. primacy will be expedited by America’s own ambivalence about remaining the globe’s guardian and by the impact of the digital age on the country’s politics and its role in the world.

By deftly mining the lessons of history to cast light on the present and future, Kupchan explains how America and the world should prepare for the more complex, more unstable road ahead.


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About the author

Charles A. Kupchan is professor of international relations at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served on the National Security Council during the first Clinton administration. He lives in Washington, D.C..


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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Dec 18, 2007
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780307428516
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Political Science / Globalization
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The world is on the cusp of a global turn. Between 1500 and 1800, the West sprinted ahead of other centers of power in Asia and the Middle East. Europe and the United States have dominated the world since. But today the West's preeminence is slipping away as China, India, Brazil and other emerging powers rise. Although most strategists recognize that the dominance of the West is on the wane, they are confident that its founding ideas--democracy, capitalism, and secular nationalism--will continue to spread, ensuring that the Western order will outlast its primacy. In No One's World, Charles A. Kupchan boldly challenges this view, arguing that the world is headed for political and ideological diversity; emerging powers will neither defer to the West's lead nor converge toward the Western way. The ascent of the West was the product of social and economic conditions unique to Europe and the United States. As other regions now rise, they are following their own paths to modernity and embracing their own conceptions of domestic and international order. Kupchan contends that the Western order will not be displaced by a new great power or dominant political model. The twenty-first century will not belong to America, China, Asia, or anyone else. It will be no one's world. For the first time in history, an interdependent world will be without a center of gravity or global guardian. More than simply diagnosing what lies ahead, Kupchan provides a detailed strategy for striking a bargain between the West and the rising rest by fashioning a new consensus on issues of legitimacy, sovereignty, and governance. Thoughtful, provocative, sweeping in scope, this work is nothing less than a global guidebook for the 21st century.
Is the world destined to suffer endless cycles of conflict and war? Can rival nations become partners and establish a lasting and stable peace? How Enemies Become Friends provides a bold and innovative account of how nations escape geopolitical competition and replace hostility with friendship. Through compelling analysis and rich historical examples that span the globe and range from the thirteenth century through the present, foreign policy expert Charles Kupchan explores how adversaries can transform enmity into amity--and he exposes prevalent myths about the causes of peace.

Kupchan contends that diplomatic engagement with rivals, far from being appeasement, is critical to rapprochement between adversaries. Diplomacy, not economic interdependence, is the currency of peace; concessions and strategic accommodation promote the mutual trust needed to build an international society. The nature of regimes matters much less than commonly thought: countries, including the United States, should deal with other states based on their foreign policy behavior rather than on whether they are democracies. Kupchan demonstrates that similar social orders and similar ethnicities, races, or religions help nations achieve stable peace. He considers many historical successes and failures, including the onset of friendship between the United States and Great Britain in the early twentieth century, the Concert of Europe, which preserved peace after 1815 but collapsed following revolutions in 1848, and the remarkably close partnership of the Soviet Union and China in the 1950s, which descended into open rivalry by the 1960s.


In a world where conflict among nations seems inescapable, How Enemies Become Friends offers critical insights for building lasting peace.

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