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Publisher's Summary

What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home? And is America really in decline? Robert Kagan, New York Times best-selling author and one of the country’s most influential strategic thinkers, paints a vivid, alarming picture of what the world might look like if the United States were truly to let its influence wane.

Although Kagan asserts that much of the current pessimism is misplaced, he warns that if America were indeed to commit “preemptive superpower suicide”, the world would see the return of war among rising nations as they jostle for power; the retreat of democracy around the world, as Vladimir Putin’s Russia and authoritarian China acquire more clout; and the weakening of the global free-market economy, which the United States created and has supported for more than 60 years. We’ve seen this before—in the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I.

Potent, incisive, and engaging, The World America Made is a reminder that the American world order is worth preserving, and America dare not decline.

©2012 Robert Kagan (P)2012 Random House

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 02-25-12

Important Reading

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Richard
  • Oakland, CA, United States
  • 03-03-12

Addressing The Hard Questions Of America's Future

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Addressing The Hard Questions Of America's Future

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful