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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

More from the Big Idea for Monday, February 21 2011


The Post-American World

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