Still Ours to Lead

Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 175
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  • Book Info
    Still Ours to Lead
    Book Description:

    Is the United States still a "superpower"? How are the rising powers establishing themselves in international politics and security? What is the future of global stability?

    For over a decade, Bruce Jones has had a front-row seat as the emerging powers-principally China, India, and Brazil, but also Turkey, Indonesia, Korea, and others-thrust themselves onto the global stage. From Delhi to Doha to Beijing to Brasilia, he's met with the politicians, diplomats, business leaders, and scholars of those powers as they craft their strategies for rising influence-and with senior American officials as they forge their response.

    InStill Ours to Lead, Jones tells a nuanced story of American leadership. He artfully examines the tension between the impulse to rival the United States and the incentives for restraint and cooperation among the rising powers. That balance of rivalry and restraint provides the United States with a continued ability to solve problems and to manage crises at roughly the same rate as when American dominance was unquestioned. Maintaining the balance is central to the question of whether we will live in a stable or unstable system in the period to come. But it just so happens that this challenge plays to America's unique strength-its unparalleled ability to pull together broad and disparate coalitions for action. To succeed, America must adapt its leadership to new realities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2513-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. 1-8)

    On the face of things, it has been a rough few years for the United States. America is only slowly winding down the second of two draining wars. Trying to avoid a third war, this time in Syria, has put the U.S. at odds with many of its allies in Europe and the Middle East, while Russian and Chinese intransigence has frustrated efforts to find a UN solution to that appalling civil war.¹ In the South and East China Seas, Chinese assertiveness appears not only to threaten America’s long-time dominance in the region but also to risk a crisis with...

  4. Part I. A Greatly Exaggerated Decline:: The Fall and Rise of Major Powers

      (pp. 11-36)

      In May 2006 theFinancial Timespublished a survey of the most influential commentators in the world. Topping the list for the United States was Charles Krauthammer.¹ Krauthammer was cited for two articles he had written in the previous half decade: a manifesto for an ambitious program of American power projection titled “Democratic Realism” and an essay inForeign Affairsmagazine that defined the post–cold war moment as one of “unipolarity,” or U.S. dominance.

      Krauthammer was far from alone in reveling in a sense of American dominance. The launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the start...

      (pp. 37-56)

      Though America is an enduring power, there is no question that there are other actors on the international stage, some of whom are rising in influence. If any single event illustrates the rise of these new actors, it is the international response to the global financial crisis in 2008.

      The financial crash started with ripples in the U.S. housing market in 2006. It rolled through the British, Irish, and Icelandic banking sectors, swelled into the bailout of the American Insurance Group (AIG) and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, and then crashed on September 29 with a 777-point...

      (pp. 57-80)

      The narrative of the post-Western world does not just refer to the who of rising powers; it refers also to what they want. A post-Western world is usually described as an alternative to the current Western-led order, and one that displaces the West’s leading role. While several of the rising powers are aligned with the United States, or lean toward alignment, most of them resent the Western domination of the international system and the major international institutions. They thus share an agenda in challenging that domination. This resentment is partially about core economic and security interests, and it is partially...

  5. Part II. Of Rivalry and Restraint:: The Persistence of Cooperation

    • CHAPTER FOUR OVERLAPPING INTERESTS: Transnational Threats and the Security of Globalization
      (pp. 83-99)

      In part 1 of this book, I make the argument that the attitudes of the rising powers are characterized by a balance between the impulse to rivalry, on the one hand, and on the other, incentives for restraint and cooperation. The essential argument is a simple one and has been made elsewhere: because the rising powers rose within the established economic system, they have interests in protecting and expanding it. I find a lot of evidence to support that claim.

      There is more. As members of the trillionaires’ club rise in power, their global reach spreads, and their stakes in...

    • CHAPTER FIVE SHAPING IT, NOT BREAKING IT: Economics, Energy, and Climate Change
      (pp. 100-125)

      A different sea, and again the established and emerging powers encounter one another—in this case, with divergent interests and potential rivalry. During the cold war the Arctic was a zone of tense cold war rivalry. As the cold war receded, so too did the strategic significance of the Arctic.¹ In recent years, though, new tensions arose. Rapidly melting Arctic ice has meant two things: new prospects for extracting energy resources from the Arctic waters and a new passageway for sea-borne trade.² These changes have created a complex and, to some, a worrying political picture.

      Control of Arctic navigation confers...

      (pp. 126-150)

      There is another instance of the emerging and established powers cooperating on the high seas, and it is off the coast of Lebanon. There, in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish, Indonesian, and Brazilian navies copatrol alongside those of France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, monitoring the boundary between Israeli and Lebanese waters.¹ But in Lebanon, cooperation between these powers is not limited to the seas; it extends to land as well—troops from Brazil, China, Turkey, India, and Indonesia form part of a peacekeeping force alongside troops from France, Germany, and Spain, among others. These troops were deployed under an...

      (pp. 151-176)

      In September 2010 a Japanese coast guard ship collided with a Chinese trawler that it was chasing from the waters surrounding an island chain known to the Japanese authorities as the Senkaku chain and to China by the name Diaoyu. Japan detained the Chinese trawler captain, and China retaliated by halting sales to Japan of rare earth materials, which are vital to high-tech industry.

      In April 2012 the hard-line governor of Tokyo started negotiating to buy some of the Senkaku Islands from its private owners, the Kurihara family. To preempt the governor’s move, the Japanese central government bought several of...

  6. Part III. How America Can Still Win Friends and Influence History

      (pp. 179-192)

      At the most basic level, at this juncture in history, America can make two fundamental mistakes about the world it confronts and thereby lose its indispensable role in international leadership. First, it can underestimate the importance of the rising powers—or their impulse to rivalry, at the risk of unleashing it. Second, it can overestimate the threat or challenge that they pose—as does, in my judgment, much of the narrative and analysis around a “coming disorder” and around the U.S.-China relationship. If the country overestimates risks, then it amplifies their salience, misuses resources to meet them, and misses opportunities...

      (pp. 193-214)

      On August 21, 2013, according to both U.S. intelligence sources and a report by a UN chemical weapons team, chemical munitions were fired from Syrian government-held territory into the small but strategically located town of Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus. Human rights organizations and journalists on the ground reported gruesome scenes: deaths of men, women, and children consistent with chemical attacks, possibly sarin gas.¹ More than a thousand people were estimated to have been killed, according to U.S. intelligence sources.²

      Earlier, President Obama had declared that a significant use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was a red...

    (pp. 215-220)
  8. NOTES
    (pp. 221-252)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 253-263)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 264-265)