Many foreign policy experts seem to believe that retaining American primacy is

Many foreign policy experts seem to believe that

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Many foreign-policy experts seem to believe that retaining American primacy is largely a matter of will -- of how America chooses to exert its power abroad. Even President Obama, more often accused of being a prophet of decline than a booster of America's future, recently asserted that the United States "has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world." The question, he continued, is "not whether America will lead, but how we will lead." But will is unavailing without strength. If the United States wants the international system to continue to reflect its interests and values -- a system, for example, in which the global commons are protected, trade is broad-based and extensive, and armed conflicts among great nations are curtailed -- it needs to sustain not just resolve, but relative power. That, in turn, will require acknowledging the uncomfortable truth that global power and wealth are shifting at an unprecedented pace, with profound implications. Moreover, many of the challenges America faces are exacerbated by vulnerabilities that are largely self-created, chief among them fiscal policy. Much more quickly and comprehensively than is understood, those vulnerabilities are reducing America's freedom of action and its ability to influence others.
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Preserving America's internation make policy choices now that pa to act. Fortunately, the United St other major power, in part becaus process of renewal must begin w the gravity of the situation Amer The relative economic decline of growth is occurring in the develo globalization -- has occurred is h flows of goods, services, and fina do. As recently as 2000, the GDP later, the two economies are equa This shift reorders what was, in s the past 150 years. As illustrated hold in the 19th century that the w Europe and the United States, wh however, the economic center of unique historical speed. THE WORLD'S ECONOMIC C its pull on the world's economic c nal position will require it to restore its economic ay dividends for decades to come. America has to tates still enjoys greater freedom to determine its se many of its problems are within its ability to with analyzing America's competitive position an ricans face. f the United States is a fact. For the first time in oping world,and the speed with which that shift - hard to fathom. Whereas in 1990 just 14 percent ances originated in emerging economies, today n P of China was one-tenth that of the United State al (at least in terms of purchasing power parity). some sense, a historical anomaly: the transatlant d by the map below, it wasn't until the Industrial world's "economic center of gravity" decisively hich have since been the primary engines of grow f gravity is headed back toward Asia, and it is do CENTER OF GRAVITY The larger a country's G center of gravity. So when the Industrial Revolu c vitality and o prioritize and s future than any address. But this nd understanding 200 years, most -- a function of of cross-border nearly 40 percent es; just 14 years .
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