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The New Rules: U.S. Should Pursue 'Open Door,' not Primacy

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

The decline of the American "empire" has been a persistent theme of the punditocracy these past several years, with the underlying logic being Washington's inability to extend, ad infinitum, the primacy seemingly conferred upon it at Cold War's end. The global financial crisis has now further revealed a suddenly -- and stunningly -- rebalanced global order, and as a result, Americans are supposed to dread the vast uncertainties of our allegedly "post-American world."

Worse, Americans are also being presented with a patently false binary choice: Should the U.S. do what is necessary to regain its primacy or simply let it slip away? Those who argue for renewed primacy take for granted the American-ness of their ambition, for surely only the unpatriotic among us will accept anything less than no. 1 as a grand strategic objective. Even those who argue against such "insane" ambition subtly buy into its logic, by presuming it has animated U.S. foreign policy these past several decades, with only our recent "hubris" having cost us our "greatness." ...

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