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What Does This Mean For The United States? Print What Does This Mean For The United States?

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"Five hundred years of history tell us that when a dominant power is faced with the rapid rise of another nation, things will not go smoothly. Today, everyone agrees that China, India, even Russia, are regaining power across many dimensions. What this means for America, though, is the subject of intense debate," write Nina Hachigian and Mona Sutphen in a Stanley Foundation report titled “The United States, Pivotal Powers, and the New Global Reality.”


"Three schools of thought compete," they continue. "Some argue that because America is still the world’s only superpower, with military strength head and shoulders (actually torso, head and shoulders) above the rest, America has what it needs to keep its citizens safe so long as it retains this primacy. Next are the 'offensive realists,' who argue that in a future multi-polar world, a clash between America and other strong powers is inevitable. Finally, there are those who predict a 'clash of civilizations' in which powerful, illiberal regimes like China and Russia will join forces and clash with the liberal West. Beyond these theoretical debates, Americans and their policymakers worry that a world with multiple big powers will reduce America’s geopolitical freedom, give solace to its enemies, and reduce the sway of liberal democracy."

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This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.

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The global order is changing. The 21st Century will be marked by many competing sources of global power. Across politics, economics, culture, military strength and more, a new group of countries have growing influence over the future of the world:



South Africa
European Union

South Korea


Other Countries

Big issues are also playing a cross-cutting role in this changing global order:


Nuclear Nonproliferation
Nonstate Actors

Global/Regional Systems

And this changing global order has implications for the United States.

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