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New Left Review 13, January-February 2002


Peter Gowan on Giovanni Arrighi and Beverly Silver: Chaos and World Governance. Plotting the different axes of any international hegemony, and the prospects for American supremacy in the new century.

PETER GOWAN

AFTER AMERICA?

At the dawn of the century, America rampant appears to be master of global politics. Washington’s military budget currently accounts for over a third of world expenditure on arms, and is larger than that of the next nine powers put together. The Pentagon’s weapons systems are in a league of their own. The US enjoys an unchallengeable military predominance over any combination of hostile states for the foreseeable future. Critics point out that American strategic preponderance is overwhelmingly based on air and sea power: the US has lost its capacity to control populations on the ground because its hugely increased capacity to kill has been accompanied by a precipitate decline in its willingness to let its soldiers die.

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