The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

Excerpt

Today's world is different in fundamental ways from the one we knew for 45 years. The Cold War was a relatively structured era of international relations dominated by two great powers and disciplined by nuclear weapons. Rules of the road developed governing competition that reduced the chance the two superpowers would find themselves in direct confrontation involving military forces of any sort. Most other states had their freedom of action circumscribed by their respective superpower patron.

The world in the wake of the Cold War is turning out to be less structured and less disciplined by military force and the fear of nuclear war. It is the age of "deregulation."

The age of deregulation promises to be terribly complex, more so than what came before. For the United States, it is both safer (with no existential Soviet threat) and more dangerous (with the emergence of more numerous if lesser threats). It is more unified and global in the economic and information realms and more discrete and divided in the political. It is better, being more democratic and prosperous for many peoples, and worse, bringing more conflict and poverty for others. Economic, military, and political power will be diffused among a greater number of state and nonstate actors than at any time in modern history. All this will occur in a world in which few rules are as yet universally accepted governing behavior within or between states.

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