Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age

Article excerpt

CURRENT EVENTS After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age, by Paul Starobin. Viking, May 2009. $26.95

"Great as it is, American power is limited," Walter Lippman warned in 1954, as a rebuke to Time founder Henry Luce, who had recently proclaimed the dawn of an American Century. In the wake of World War II, the US seemed "the great nation of futurity" of Luce's imagination, a bona fide superpower whose optimism and ingenuity would insure exemption from the usual fate of empires. But Starobin argues that, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US has increasingly shown Lippman's pronouncement to be true. One of Starobin's favorite words is "vigor," and he finds it - as well as the kind of open-mindedness and imagination that transformed American into a superpower - in direly short supply. He looks admiringly at the social systems of Europe and charts the rising dominance of China and India for signs of who might hold sway in the twenty-first century. …

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