The Myth of America’s Decline
[O]ur economic power and military might have grown beyond anything that
our forefathers could have imagined. But that power and might can only be
sustained and renewed if we can regain our authority with the world, the
authority not simply of a large and wealthy nation but of the American idea.
If we can live up to that idea, if we can exercise our power wisely and well,
we can make America great again.
—US senator and candidate for Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary
Clinton, Foreign Affairs, November 2007
THIS BOOK OPENED BY DISCUSSING THE CONTRIBUTIONS of the US-led world economic order—the postwar framework of global governance built on rules-based institutions and free and open markets—to global prosperity in the past six decades. It went on to discuss the challenges to that global economic instability and the divergent demands that the leading economies pose to the American order. It then argued that there are no substitutes for the institutions and ideals of the American order, just as there are no conceivable alternative paradigms for global governance, but also that this peerless order must now be revitalized. The American order made anew is necessary for a world where growth and globalization are accompanied by sustained stability.
This book has proposed that rather than by way of watershed events, stability, just like growth, needs to be pursued with persistence and as a process. Rather than pitting policy makers against market makers, the process needs to align interests. Rather than each nation futilely fending for itself, the common aspiration for growth and stability takes coordination.
Such approaches are difficult, for they are political. While nations share an interest in a thriving world economy, they disagree on the means to that end. National interests, shaped by domestic political economy constraints, clash. Within countries, the preferences of politicians, beholden to