Monday, August 15, 2011

I. Wallerstein: The World Consequences of U.S. Decline

Immanuel Wallerstein, Commentary No. 311, Aug. 15, 2011

A decade ago, when I and some others spoke of U.S. decline in the world-system, we were met at best with condescending smiles at our naivety. Was not the United States the lone superpower, involved in every remote corner of the earth, and getting its way most of the time? This was a view shared all along the political spectrum.

Today, the view that the United States has declined, has seriously declined, is a banality. Everyone is saying it, except for a few U.S. politicians who fear they will be blamed for the bad news of the decline if they discuss it. The fact is that just about everyone believes today in the reality of the decline.

What is however far less discussed is what have been, what will be the consequences worldwide of this decline. The decline has economic roots of course. But the loss of a quasi-monopoly of geopolitical power, which the United States once exercised, has major political consequences everywhere.

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