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A Receding Presence: The Military Implications of American Retrenchment

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013

A historic change is underway in the global security system. As Harvard political scientist Stephen Walt wrote,  the world is witnessing "a sharp decline in America's ability to shape the global order." In the future, Walt and others believe, "the United States simply won't have the resources to devote to international affairs that it had in the past." Christopher Layne of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University is even more blunt: "The epoch of American dominance is drawing to a close, and international politics is entering a period of transition: no longer unipolar but not yet fully multipolar."

The trends are clear—no one doubts that the U.S. global presence is receding. But no one knows how far and how fast this will go or, importantly, what it will mean. This is especially true in the military realm. ...

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