Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 01:38 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 01:38 | SYDNEY

America in the new world order


Sam Roggeveen


30 January 2008 16:38

It's good to see a publication as prominent as the New York Times publish a long, serious essay arguing the US will not be at the centre of the emerging global order. Certainly there is little indication in the way the presidential candidates discuss foreign policy that, relative to much faster-growing competitors, America is in decline. Yet if current trends continue, we might look back on this decade as the last one of unchallenged US primacy.

Unfortunately, Parag Khanna's essay does not seem to allow for the possibility that such trends will not continue. It's also light on data: the travelogue style of foreign policy analysis has its place (Tom Friedman has built a career on it), but this essay is a bit too anecdotal. And you know that feeling you get when you read something incorrect on an issue you know lots about, and you wonder, 'Wow, what else has this guy got wrong?' I got that feeling when I reached this passage: '...China is exporting weapons at a rate reminiscent of the Soviet Union during the Cold War'. 'Reminiscent' might be one of those deliberately wishy-washy get-out-of-jail phrases, but by any reasonable definition, this just aint true.