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Kagan explains in a clear and concise manner why the U.S. cannot retreat into isolationism. Regardless of whether we want to be the world's only super power, there really is no other choice. He shows why a different strategy would be bad for us, and, importantly, bad for the rest of the world.
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This is an important book by a leading scholar which comes to grips with the question of whether America's role as the dominant global superpower is ending and, if so, what the coming multipolar world would look like. Kagan takes a hard look at major power rise and fall and conflicts throughout history, particularly over the last few centuries, and comes to some sobering conclusions. While American superpower dominance has not resulted in a perfect world, American decline would most likely not result in a better one. History teaches that the end of American dominance would likely produce a multipolar world with more war as the newer emerging powers flex their muscles and test their limits. Outright nuclear war between two rival major powers would not be unthinkable and certainly more likely than it is today. With the increased influence of powers such as China and Russia, there would be fewer democracies and more tyrannies. Trade barriers and trade wars would crop up and the world as a whole would be less prosperous. Kagan explains that, based upon history, the world order the U.S. has created, extolling democracy and free trade and creating some check on regional aggressions -- such as the Balkan conflict in the 1990s and the Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990 -- would crumble with the weakening of US dominance and that the emerging multipolar world would likely be one which is more violent and less free. Kagan concludes that American decline as the sole global superpower is not desirable if one values peace, freedom, democracy and free trade prosperity. Nor is US decline necessarily inevitable, at least in the near future. Intelligently written and highly recommended.
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