Gideon Rose was recently named the editor of Foreign Affairs, where he served as managing editor of the magazine from 2000 to 2010. Prior to this, he was the Olin senior fellow and deputy director of national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
After studying classics at Yale, Rose received a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and has taught American foreign policy at Princeton and Columbia. He is the author of "How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle." His previous publications, edited with James F. Hoge, Jr., include "Understanding the War on Terror," "America and the World: Debating the New Shape of International Politics," and "How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War." He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Question: What do you mean by the phrase “post-American world”?
Gideon Rose: The post-American world is a world in which the United States can’t assume that it will get whatever it wants. It can’t assume that others will follow its lead. And I think that, as you’ve seen in the wake of the financial crisis, and in the wake of the American elections, the Obama Administration basically can’t make its own policies without anybody dissenting, either at home or abroad. The Fed can’t make its own choices about monetary policy without having other central banks and other political actors outside the United States chime in. And these things are somewhat new and it will be hard for the United States and Washington to get used to a world in which it has to lead by persuasion and example and competence rather than mere assertion of dominance.
Question: Won’t this be a hard pill to swallow for many Americans?
Gideon Rose: You’re right that the Republican Party and many Americans, frankly, will be opposed to this very concept. But the thing about reality is, it’s there whether you like it or now and the post-American world is not a question of American exceptionalism, it’s not a question of how good we are or moral we are; it’s not a question of whether we deserve to be prominent or not prominent, it’s a question of the basic fact that the power is now somewhat more widely distributed, particularly economic power, than it used to be and that we no longer basically can get whatever we want. And so the American public is going to have to adjust to this and grow up, essentially.
Recorded November 17, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Produced / Directed by Jonathan Fowler