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New Republic: Back to Normalcy

Author: Paul Kennedy
December 21, 2010

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In this New Republic article, Paul Kennedy insists that the United States is not in decline, but rather returning to a prominent place in a normal international order of a few great powers.

Where on earth is the United States headed? Has it lost its way? Is the Obama effect, which initially promised to halt the souring of its global image, over? More seriously, is it in some sort of terminal decline? Has it joined the long historical list of number one powers that rose to the top, and then, as Rudyard Kipling outlined it, just slowly fell downhill: “Lo, all our pomp of yesterday / At one with Nineveh and Tyre”? Has it met its match in Afghanistan? And has its obsession with the ill-defined war on terrorism obscured attention to the steady, and really much more serious, rise of China to the center of the world’s stage? Will the dollar fall and fall, like the pound sterling from the 1940s to the 1970s?

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