That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
By Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2011, 400 pages; ISBN 0374288909.
Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety
By Gideon Rachman
New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011, 352 pages; ISBN 1439176620.
The Short American Century: A Postmortem
By Andrew J. Bacevich
Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press, 2012, 296 pages; ISBN 0674064453.
The subject of American decline and the new global order has been on the agenda of political scientists and international observers for more than two decades. Even before the end of the Cold War, in 1989 Paul Kennedy in his seminal book on The Rise and Fall of Great Powers pointed to “imperial overstretch” and the national debt caused by increasing military expenditures as the major causes of the US’s decline in the coming decade.1 The US victory in the Cold War and the fall of communism in the world somewhat postponed these concerns and Kennedy’s predictions were overshadowed by the moment of unipolarity in world politics, in which the United States enjoyed unchallengeable military and political dominance. However, starting from the late 1990s, concerns grew about the future of the United States’ dominance in world politics as the Chinese economy’s growth accelerated.