Global America: Imposing Liberalism on a Recalcitrant World

By David Mosler; Bob Catley | Go to book overview

Domestic Constraints
on American Power

The United States is the dominant power in the international system at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Some commentators believe, however, that it will be unable to sustain its position as a hegemonic and rule-making power because it is beset by an array of domestic difficulties that will make the exercise of its power problematic and, eventually, impossible. One school of thought believes that the defeat in Vietnam in the mid-1970s left the American public unwilling to support the military projection of U.S. power--the Vietnam War Syndrome 1--particularly if this involves substantial casualties. This matter is being dealt with in military reorganizations designed to produce a U.S. armed force capable of winning wars without taking U.S. casualties. Another school emphasizes the fragility of American society and questions its continuing ability to project power. These commentators also usually believe that the United States is, in fact, in decline.

In the 1980s the historiography of late-twentieth-centuryAmerica was enlivened by the debate over the alleged decline of the United States as a global power and over its place in the post-cold war world. Paul Kennedy's book and the responses to it by Francis Fukuyama stimulated an extraordinary volume of literature on the question of the relative strength of American society, economy, and its future as a hegemonic power. 2

The declinist view of Western culture as a totality has a long lineage and can be traced back at least to the early-twentieth-century writings of Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee on the decline of the West. They both reflected the crisis in Western confidence produced by the Second World War and rapid moderniza-

-61-

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Global America: Imposing Liberalism on a Recalcitrant World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Considerations of American Power 1
  • 2 - Popular Culture, Corporate Power, Imperial State 31
  • 3 - Domestic Constraints on American Power 61
  • 4 - U.S. Policy in the Middle East 83
  • 5 - Policy in Europe 95
  • 6 - U.S. Policy in the Asia Pacific 123
  • 7 - Challenges to U.S. Hegemony 153
  • 8 - Prospects for the Twenty-First Century 181
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 216
  • About the Authors 226
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