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Why It Won’t Be an American Century

While the US will likely rebound from its current economic crisis, we will cease to rule the world. This century calls for a cleverer brand of American engagement abroad, not denial.

What’s the Latest Development?

To hear Mitt Romney talk, you might think the US had just saved Europe from the Nazis. But that was over half a century ago and American exceptionalism is waning due to emerging economies and a weakened domestic front. China’s GDP will catch ours within the decade and by 2032, Goldman Sachs predicts that the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China will match those of the G-7. Currently, 46 percent of Americans think we should ‘mind our own business’ abroad; 76 percent want us to focus on our own ‘national problems’.

What’s the Big Idea?

America’s military will remain top dog for decades to come but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Vietnam, demonstrate that overwhelming force is not everything. Our leaders would be wise to protect American interests as the world transitions to a place in which power is more evenly distributed. That world is likely to include political ideologies at odds with America’s commitment toward democracy and individual liberty, whether it be China’s state capitalism or the Middle East’s political Islam.

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