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Unformatted text preview: isiting associate professor at the Naval postgraduate School and consultant to the RAND Corporation
(Christopher, The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present, pg. 157-158)
The handwriting is on the wall. Indeed, since the early 1990s, there has been ongoing balancing against American hegemony. This includes not only terrorism, opaque, and semi-hard balancing, but, in China's case, a determined effort at hard balancing against American hegemony by building up its own military capabilities. Unipolar optimists conflate balancing with the attainment of balance in the international system (that is, a more or less equal distribution of power among the great powers). "Balancing" is a grand strategy pursued by individual states. States that balance seek to create counterweights to a hegemon's power and to ultimately bring about a realignment in the distribution of power in the international system--a "balance of power", if you will. It is important, however, not to conflate balancing (which is behavior at the unit level) with the actual attainment of balance (which is a systemic outcome). The fact that unipolarity has not yet given way to a new distribution of power The United States enjoys no privileged exemption from the fate of hegemons. that balancing behavior by other states has not yet produced the desired systemic outcome. At the same time, it doubtless is true that it will take some time for others' balancing efforts to realize
does not mean that there has been an absence of balancing against the United States since the cold war ended. Rather, it means their intended outcome. Although the United States, contrary to my 1993 prediction, probably will not be challenged by great power rivals as early as 2010, it is even more doubtful that U.S. hegemony will endure until the early 2030s. Is it worthwhile paying the price to hang onto unipolarity for, at best, another two decades? Given that American hegemony is destined to end sooner rather than lat...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13