Globalization wears a ‘Made in USA’ label

N ot since Rome has one nation loomed so large above the others. In the words of The Economist, “the United States be- strides the globe like a colossus. It dominates business, commerce, and communications; its economy is the world’s most successful, its military might second to none.”1 French foreign minister Hubert Védrine argued in 1999 that the United States had gone beyond its superpower status of the twentieth century. “U.S. supremacy today extends to the economy, currency, military areas, lifestyle, language and the products of mass culture that inundate the world, forming thought and fascinating even the enemies of the United States.”2 Or as two American triumphalists put it, “Today’s in- ternational system is built not around a balance of power but around American hegemony.”3 As global interdependence has increased, many have argued that globalization is simply a disguise for Ameri- can imperialism. The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that “American idols and icons are shaping the world from Kat- mandu to Kinshasa, from Cairo to Caracas. Globalization wears a ‘Made in USA’ label.”4

The United States is undoubtedly the world’s number one power, but how long can this situation last, and what should we do with it?

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Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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Some pundits and scholars argue that our preeminence is simply the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and that this “unipolar mo- ment” will be brief.5 Our strategy should be to husband our strength and engage the world only selectively. Others argue that America’s power is so great that it will last for decades, and the unipolar mo- ment can become a unipolar era.6 Charles Krauthammer argued in early 2001 that “after a decade of Prometheus playing pygmy, the first task of the new administration is to reassert American freedom of ac- tion.” We should refuse to play “the docile international citizen. . . . The new unilateralism recognizes the uniqueness of the unipolar world we now inhabit and thus marks the real beginning of Ameri- can post–Cold War foreign policy.”7

Even before September 2001, this prescription was challenged by many, both liberals and conservatives, who consider themselves real- ists and consider it almost a law of nature in international politics that if one nation becomes too strong, others will team up to balance its power. In their eyes, America’s current predominance is ephemeral.8

As evidence, they might cite an Indian journalist who urges a strategic triangle linking Russia, India, and China “to provide a counterweight in what now looks like a dangerously unipolar world,”9 or the presi- dent of Venezuela telling a conference of oil producers that “the 21st century should be multipolar, and we all ought to push for the development of such a world.”10 Even friendly sources such as The Economist agree that “the one-superpower world will not last. Within the next couple of decades a China with up to 1 ½ billion people, a strongly growing economy and probably a still authoritarian gov- ernment will almost certainly be trying to push its interests. . . . Sooner or later some strong and honest man will pull post-Yeltsin Russia together, and another contender for global influence will have reappeared.”11 In my view, terrorism notwithstanding, Ameri- can preponderance will last well into this century — but only if we learn to use our power wisely.

Predicting the rise and fall of nations is notoriously difficult. In February 1941, publishing magnate Henry Luce boldly proclaimed the “American century.” Yet by the 1980s, many analysts thought Luce’s vision had run its course, the victim of such culprits as Vietnam, a

2 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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slowing economy, and imperial overstretch. In 1985, economist Lester Thurow asked why, when Rome had lasted a thousand years as a re- public and an empire, we were slipping after only fifty.12 Polls showed that half the public agreed that the nation was contracting in power and prestige.13

The declinists who filled American bestseller lists a decade ago were not the first to go wrong. After Britain lost its American colonies in the eighteenth century, Horace Walpole lamented Britain’s reduction to “a miserable little island” as insignificant as Denmark or Sardinia.14 His prediction was colored by the then cur- rent view of colonial commerce and failed to foresee the coming in- dustrial revolution that would give Britain a second century with even greater preeminence. Similarly, the American declinists failed to understand that a “third industrial revolution” was about to give the United States a “second century.”15 The United States has certainly been the leader in the global information revolution.

On the other hand, nothing lasts forever in world politics. A century ago, economic globalization was as high by some measures as it is to- day. World finance rested on a gold standard, immigration was at un- paralleled levels, trade was increasing, and Britain had an empire on which the sun never set. As author William Pfaff put it, “Responsible political and economic scholars in 1900 would undoubtedly have de- scribed the twentieth-century prospect as continuing imperial rivalries within a Europe-dominated world, lasting paternalistic tutelage by Eu- ropeans of their Asian and African colonies, solid constitutional gov- ernment in Western Europe, steadily growing prosperity, increasing scientific knowledge turned to human benefit, etc. All would have been wrong.”16 What followed, of course, was two world wars, the great so- cial diseases of totalitarian fascism and communism, the end of Euro- pean empires, and the end of Europe as the arbiter of world power. Economic globalization was reversed and did not again reach its 1914 levels until the 1970s. Conceivably, it could happen again.

Can we do better as we enter the twenty-first century? The apo- crypha of Yogi Berra warns us not to make predictions, particularly about the future. Yet we have no choice. We walk around with pic- tures of the future in our heads as a necessary condition of planning

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Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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our actions. At the national level, we need such pictures to guide pol- icy and tell us how to use our unprecedented power. There is, of course, no single future; there are multiple possible futures, and the quality of our foreign policy can make some more likely than others. When systems involve complex interactions and feedbacks, small causes can have large effects. And when people are involved, human reaction to the prediction itself may make it fail to come true.

We cannot hope to predict the future, but we can draw our pic- tures carefully so as to avoid some common mistakes.17 A decade ago, a more careful analysis of American power could have saved us from the mistaken portrait of American decline. More recently, accurate predictions of catastrophic terrorism failed to avert a tragedy that leads some again to foresee decline. It is important to prevent the er- rors of both declinism and triumphalism. Declinism tends to pro- duce overly cautious behavior that could undercut our influence; triumphalism could beget a potentially dangerous absence of re- straint, as well as an arrogance that would also squander our influ- ence. With careful analysis, we can make better decisions about how to protect our people, promote our values, and lead toward a better world over the next few decades. We can begin this analysis with an examination of the sources of our power.

the sources of american power

We hear a lot about how powerful America has become in recent years, but what do we mean by power? Simply put, power is the abil- ity to effect the outcomes you want, and if necessary, to change the behavior of others to make this happen. For example, NATO’s mili- tary power reversed Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, and the promise of economic aid to Serbia’s devastated economy reversed the Serbian government’s initial disinclination to hand Milosevic over to the Hague tribunal.

The ability to obtain the outcomes one wants is often associated with the possession of certain resources, and so we commonly use shorthand and define power as possession of relatively large amounts

4 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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of such elements as population, territory, natural resources, eco- nomic strength, military force, and political stability. Power in this sense means holding the high cards in the international poker game. If you show high cards, others are likely to fold their hands. Of course, if you play your hand poorly or fall victim to bluff and deception, you can still lose, or at least fail to get the outcome you want. For example, the United States was the largest power after World War I, but it failed to prevent the rise of Hitler or Pearl Harbor. Converting America’s potential power resources into realized power requires well-designed policy and skillful leadership. But it helps to start by holding the high cards.

Traditionally, the test of a great power was “strength for war.”18

War was the ultimate game in which the cards of international poli- tics were played and estimates of relative power were proven. Over the centuries, as technologies evolved, the sources of power have changed. In the agrarian economies of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century Europe, population was a critical power resource because it provided a base for taxes and the recruitment of infantry (who were mostly mercenaries), and this combination of men and money gave the edge to France. But in the nineteenth century, the growing im- portance of industry benefited first Britain, which ruled the waves with a navy that had no peer, and later Germany, which used efficient administration and railways to transport armies for quick victories on the Continent (though Russia had a larger population and army). By the middle of the twentieth century, with the advent of the nu- clear age, the United States and the Soviet Union possessed not only industrial might but nuclear arsenals and intercontinental missiles.

Today the foundations of power have been moving away from the emphasis on military force and conquest. Paradoxically, nuclear weapons were one of the causes. As we know from the history of the Cold War, nuclear weapons proved so awesome and destructive that they became muscle bound — too costly to use except, theoretically, in the most extreme circumstances.19 A second important change was the rise of nationalism, which has made it more difficult for em- pires to rule over awakened populations. In the nineteenth century, a few adventurers conquered most of Africa with a handful of soldiers,

the american colossus 5

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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and Britain ruled India with a colonial force that was a tiny fraction of the indigenous population. Today, colonial rule is not only widely condemned but far too costly, as both Cold War superpowers discov- ered in Vietnam and Afghanistan. The collapse of the Soviet empire followed the end of European empires by a matter of decades.

A third important cause is societal change inside great powers. Postindustrial societies are focused on welfare rather than glory, and they loathe high casualties except when survival is at stake. This does not mean that they will not use force, even when casualties are ex- pected — witness the 1991 Gulf War or Afghanistan today. But the ab- sence of a warrior ethic in modern democracies means that the use of force requires an elaborate moral justification to ensure popular support (except in cases where survival is at stake). Roughly speak- ing, there are three types of countries in the world today: poor, weak preindustrial states, which are often the chaotic remnants of col- lapsed empires; modernizing industrial states such as India or China; and the postindustrial societies that prevail in Europe, North Amer- ica, and Japan. The use of force is common in the first type of coun- try, still accepted in the second, but less tolerated in the third. In the words of British diplomat Robert Cooper, “A large number of the most powerful states no longer want to fight or to conquer.”20 War remains possible, but it is much less acceptable now than it was a century or even half a century ago.21

Finally, for most of today’s great powers, the use of force would jeopardize their economic objectives. Even nondemocratic countries that feel fewer popular moral constraints on the use of force have to consider its effects on their economic objectives. As Thomas Fried- man has put it, countries are disciplined by an “electronic herd” of investors who control their access to capital in a globalized economy.22 And Richard Rosecrance writes, “In the past, it was cheaper to seize another state’s territory by force than to develop the sophisticated economic and trading apparatus needed to derive ben- efit from commercial exchange with it.”23 Imperial Japan used the former approach when it created the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere in the 1930s, but Japan’s post–World War II role as a trading state turned out to be far more successful, leading it to become the

6 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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second largest national economy in the world. It is difficult now to imagine a scenario in which Japan would try to colonize its neigh- bors, or succeed in doing so.

As mentioned above, none of this is to suggest that military force plays no role in international politics today. For one thing, the infor- mation revolution has yet to transform most of the world. Many states are unconstrained by democratic societal forces, as Kuwait learned from its neighbor Iraq, and terrorist groups pay little heed to the normal constraints of liberal societies. Civil wars are rife in many parts of the world where collapsed empires left power vacuums. Moreover, throughout history, the rise of new great powers has been accompanied by anxieties that have sometimes precipitated military crises. In Thucydides’s immortal description, the Peloponnesian War in ancient Greece was caused by the rise to power of Athens and the fear it created in Sparta.24 World War I owed much to the rise of the kaiser’s Germany and the fear that created in Britain.25 Some foretell a similar dynamic in this century arising from the rise of China and the fear it creates in the United States.

Geoeconomics has not replaced geopolitics, although in the early twenty-first century there has clearly been a blurring of the traditional boundaries between the two. To ignore the role of force and the central- ity of security would be like ignoring oxygen. Under normal circum- stances, oxygen is plentiful and we pay it little attention. But once those conditions change and we begin to miss it, we can focus on nothing else.26 Even in those areas where the direct employment of force falls out of use among countries — for instance, within Western Europe or between the United States and Japan — nonstate actors such as terror- ists may use force. Moreover, military force can still play an important political role among advanced nations. For example, most countries in East Asia welcome the presence of American troops as an insurance policy against uncertain neighbors. Moreover, deterring threats or en- suring access to a crucial resource such as oil in the Persian Gulf in- creases America’s influence with its allies. Sometimes the linkages may be direct; more often they are present in the back of statesmen’s minds. As the Defense Department describes it, one of the missions of Ameri- can troops based overseas is to “shape the environment.”

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Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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With that said, economic power has become more important than in the past, both because of the relative increase in the costliness of force and because economic objectives loom large in the values of postindustrial societies.27 In a world of economic globalization, all countries are to some extent dependent on market forces beyond their direct control. When President Clinton was struggling to bal- ance the federal budget in 1993, one of his advisors stated in exasper- ation that if he were to be reborn, he would like to come back as “the market” because that was clearly the most powerful player.28 But markets constrain different countries to different degrees. Because the United States constitutes such a large part of the market in trade and finance, it is better placed to set its own terms than is Argentina or Thailand. And if small countries are willing to pay the price of opting out of the market, they can reduce the power that other coun- tries have over them. Thus American economic sanctions have had little effect, for example, on improving human rights in isolated Myanmar. Saddam Hussein’s strong preference for his own survival rather than the welfare of the Iraqi people meant that crippling sanc- tions failed for more than a decade to remove him from power. And economic sanctions may disrupt but not deter non-state terrorists. But the exceptions prove the rule. Military power remains crucial in certain situations, but it is a mistake to focus too narrowly on the military dimensions of American power.

soft power

In my view, if the United States wants to remain strong, Americans need also to pay attention to our soft power. What precisely do I mean by soft power? Military power and economic power are both examples of hard command power that can be used to induce others to change their position. Hard power can rest on inducements (car- rots) or threats (sticks). But there is also an indirect way to exercise power. A country may obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries want to follow it, admiring its values, emu- lating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity and openness. In this sense, it is just as important to set the agenda in world politics

8 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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and attract others as it is to force them to change through the threat or use of military or economic weapons. This aspect of power — get- ting others to want what you want —I call soft power.29 It co-opts people rather than coerces them.

Soft power rests on the ability to set the political agenda in a way that shapes the preferences of others. At the personal level, wise par- ents know that if they have brought up their children with the right beliefs and values, their power will be greater and will last longer than if they have relied only on spankings, cutting off allowances, or taking away the car keys. Similarly, political leaders and thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci have long understood the power that comes from setting the agenda and determining the framework of a debate. The ability to establish preferences tends to be associated with intan- gible power resources such as an attractive culture, ideology, and in- stitutions. If I can get you to want to do what I want, then I do not have to force you to do what you do not want to do. If the United States represents values that others want to follow, it will cost us less to lead. Soft power is not merely the same as influence, though it is one source of influence. After all, I can also influence you by threats or rewards. Soft power is also more than persuasion or the ability to move people by argument. It is the ability to entice and attract. And attraction often leads to acquiescence or imitation.

Soft power arises in large part from our values. These values are expressed in our culture, in the policies we follow inside our country, and in the way we handle ourselves internationally. As we will see in the next chapter, the government sometimes finds it difficult to con- trol and employ soft power. Like love, it is hard to measure and to handle, and does not touch everyone, but that does not diminish its importance. As Hubert Védrine laments, Americans are so powerful because they can “inspire the dreams and desires of others, thanks to the mastery of global images through film and television and be- cause, for these same reasons, large numbers of students from other countries come to the United States to finish their studies.”30 Soft power is an important reality.

Of course, hard and soft power are related and can reinforce each other. Both are aspects of the ability to achieve our purposes by af- fecting the behavior of others. Sometimes the same power resources

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Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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can affect the entire spectrum of behavior from coercion to attrac- tion.31 A country that suffers economic and military decline is likely to lose its ability to shape the international agenda as well as its at- tractiveness. And some countries may be attracted to others with hard power by the myth of invincibility or inevitability. Both Hitler and Stalin tried to develop such myths. Hard power can also be used to establish empires and institutions that set the agenda for smaller states — witness Soviet rule over the countries of Eastern Europe. But soft power is not simply the reflection of hard power. The Vatican did not lose its soft power when it lost the Papal States in Italy in the nineteenth century. Conversely, the Soviet Union lost much of its soft power after it invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia, even though its economic and military resources continued to grow. Imperious poli- cies that utilized Soviet hard power actually undercut its soft power. And some countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, and the Scan- dinavian states have political clout that is greater than their military and economic weight, because of the incorporation of attractive causes such as economic aid or peacekeeping into their definitions of national interest. These are lessons that the unilateralists forget at their and our peril.

Britain in the nineteenth century and America in the second half of the twentieth century enhanced their power by creating liberal in- ternational economic rules and institutions that were consistent with the liberal and democratic structures of British and American capi- talism — free trade and the gold standard in the case of Britain, the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and other institutions in the case of the United States. If a country can make its power legitimate in the eyes of others, it will encounter less resistance to its wishes. If its culture and ideology are attractive, others more willingly follow. If it can establish international rules that are consis- tent with its society, it will be less likely to have to change. If it can help support institutions that encourage other countries to channel or limit their activities in ways it prefers, it may not need as many costly carrots and sticks.

In short, the universality of a country’s culture and its ability to es- tablish a set of favorable rules and institutions that govern areas of

10 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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international activity are critical sources of power. The values of democracy, personal freedom, upward mobility, and openness that are often expressed in American popular culture, higher education, and foreign policy contribute to American power in many areas. In the view of German journalist Josef Joffe, America’s soft power “looms even larger than its economic and military assets. U.S. culture, low-brow or high, radiates outward with an intensity last seen in the days of the Ro- man Empire — but with a novel twist. Rome’s and Soviet Russia’s cul- tural sway stopped exactly at their military borders. America’s soft power, though, rules over an empire on which the sun never sets.”32

Of course, soft power is more than just cultural power. The values our government champions in its behavior at home (for example, democracy), in international institutions (listening to others), and in foreign policy (promoting peace and human rights) also affect the preferences of others. We can attract (or repel) others by the influ- ence of our example. But soft power does not belong to the govern- ment in the same degree that hard power does. Some hard power assets (such as armed forces) are strictly governmental, others are in- herently national (such as our oil and gas reserves), and many can be transferred to collective control (such as industrial assets that can be mobilized in an emergency). In contrast, many soft power resources are separate from American government and only partly responsive to its purposes. In the Vietnam era, for example, American govern- ment policy and popular culture worked at cross-purposes. Today popular U.S. firms or nongovernmental groups develop soft power of their own that may coincide or be at odds with official foreign pol- icy goals. That is all the more reason for our government to make sure that its own actions reinforce rather than undercut American soft power. As I shall show in the next chapter, all these sources of soft power are likely to become increasingly important in the global information age of this new century. And, at the same time, the arro- gance, indifference to the opinions of others, and narrow approach to our national interests advocated by the new unilateralists are a sure way to undermine our soft power.

Power in the global information age is becoming less tangible and less coercive, particularly among the advanced countries, but most of

the american colossus 11

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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the world does not consist of postindustrial societies, and that limits the transformation of power. Much of Africa and the Middle East re- mains locked in preindustrial agricultural societies with weak insti- tutions and authoritarian rulers. Other countries, such as China, India, and Brazil, are industrial economies analogous to parts of the West in the mid-twentieth century.33 In such a variegated world, all three sources of power — military, economic, and soft — remain rele- vant, although to different degrees in different relationships. How- ever, if current economic and social trends continue, leadership in the information revolution and soft power will become more impor- tant in the mix. Table 1.1 provides a simplified description of the evo- lution of power resources over the past few centuries.

Power in the twenty-first century will rest on a mix of hard and soft resources. No country is better endowed than the United States in all three dimensions — military, economic, and soft power. Our greatest mistake in such a world would be to fall into one-dimen- sional analysis and to believe that investing in military power alone will ensure our strength.

balance or hegemony?

America’s power — hard and soft — is only part of the story. How others react to American power is equally important to the question of stability and governance in this global information age. Many real- ists extol the virtues of the classic nineteenth-century European bal- ance of power, in which constantly shifting coalitions contained the ambitions of any especially aggressive power. They urge the United States to rediscover the virtues of a balance of power at the global level today. Already in the 1970s, Richard Nixon argued that “the only time in the history of the world that we have had any extended peri- ods of peace is when there has been a balance of power. It is when one nation becomes infinitely more powerful in relation to its poten- tial competitors that the danger of war arises.”34 But whether such multipolarity would be good or bad for the United States and for the world is debatable. I am skeptical.

12 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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War was the constant companion and crucial instrument of the multipolar balance of power. The classic European balance provided stability in the sense of maintaining the independence of most coun- tries, but there were wars among the great powers for 60 percent of the years since 1500.35 Rote adherence to the balance of power and multipolarity may prove to be a dangerous approach to global gover- nance in a world where war could turn nuclear.

the american colossus 13

Table 1.1 Leading States and Their Power Resources, 1500 – 2000

Period State Major Resources

Sixteenth century Spain Gold bullion, colonial trade,

mercenary armies,

dynastic ties

Seventeenth century Netherlands Trade, capital markets, navy

Eighteenth century France Population, rural industry,

public administration,

army, culture (soft power)

Nineteenth century Britain Industry, political cohesion,

finance and credit, navy,

liberal norms (soft power),

island location (easy to

defend)

Twentieth century United States Economic scale, scientific

and technical leadership,

location, military forces

and alliances, universalistic

culture and liberal

international regimes

(soft power)

Twenty-first century United States Technological leadership,

military and economic scale,

soft power, hub of

transnational communications

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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Many regions of the world and periods in history have seen stabil- ity under hegemony — when one power has been preeminent. Mar- garet Thatcher warned against drifting toward “an Orwellian future of Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia — three mercantilist world empires on increasingly hostile terms . . . In other words, 2095 might look like 1914 played on a somewhat larger stage.”36 Both the Nixon and Thatcher views are too mechanical because they ignore soft power. America is an exception, says Josef Joffe, “because the ‘hyperpower’ is also the most alluring and seductive society in history. Napoleon had to rely on bayonets to spread France’s revolutionary creed. In the American case, Munichers and Muscovites want what the avatar of ultra-modernity has to offer.”37

The term “balance of power” is sometimes used in contradictory ways. The most interesting use of the term is as a predictor about how countries will behave; that is, will they pursue policies that will prevent any other country from developing power that could threaten their independence? By the evidence of history, many be- lieve, the current preponderance of the United States will call forth a countervailing coalition that will eventually limit American power. In the words of the self-styled realist political scientist Kenneth Waltz, “both friends and foes will react as countries always have to threatened or real predominance of one among them: they will work to right the balance. The present condition of international politics is unnatural.”38

In my view, such a mechanical prediction misses the mark. For one thing, countries sometimes react to the rise of a single power by “bandwagoning”— that is, joining the seemingly stronger rather than weaker side — much as Mussolini did when he decided, after several years of hesitation, to ally with Hitler. Proximity to and perceptions of threat also affect the way in which countries react.39 The United States benefits from its geographical separation from Europe and Asia in that it often appears as a less proximate threat than neighboring countries inside those regions. Indeed, in 1945, the United States was by far the strongest nation on earth, and a mechanical application of balancing theory would have predicted an alliance against it. Instead, Europe and Japan allied with the Americans because the Soviet

14 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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Union, while weaker in overall power, posed a greater military threat because of its geographical proximity and its lingering revolutionary ambitions. Today, Iraq and Iran both dislike the United States and might be expected to work together to balance American power in the Persian Gulf, but they worry even more about each other. Nationalism can also complicate predictions. For example, if North Korea and South Korea are reunited, they should have a strong incentive to maintain an alliance with a distant power such as the United States in order to balance their two giant neighbors, China and Japan. But in- tense nationalism resulting in opposition to an American presence could change this if American diplomacy is heavy-handed. Non-state actors can also have an effect, as witnessed by the way cooperation against terrorists changed some states’ behavior after September 2001.

A good case can be made that inequality of power can be a source of peace and stability. No matter how power is measured, some theorists ar- gue, an equal distribution of power among major states has been rela- tively rare in history, and efforts to maintain a balance have often led to war. On the other hand, inequality of power has often led to peace and stability because there was little point in declaring war on a dominant state. The political scientist Robert Gilpin has argued that “Pax Britannica and Pax Americana, like the Pax Romana, ensured an international sys- tem of relative peace and security.” And the economist Charles Kindle- berger claimed that “for the world economy to be stabilized, there has to be a stabilizer, one stabilizer.”40 Global governance requires a large state to take the lead. But how much and what kind of inequality of power is nec- essary — or tolerable — and for how long? If the leading country pos- sesses soft power and behaves in a manner that benefits others, effective countercoalitions may be slow to arise. If, on the other hand, the leading country defines its interests narrowly and uses its weight arrogantly, it in- creases the incentives for others to coordinate to escape its hegemony.

Some countries chafe under the weight of American power more than others. Hegemony is sometimes used as a term of opprobrium by political leaders in Russia, China, the Middle East, France, and others. The term is used less often or less negatively in countries where American soft power is strong. If hegemony means being able to dictate, or at least dominate, the rules and arrangements by which

the american colossus 15

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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international relations are conducted, as Joshua Goldstein argues, then the United States is hardly a hegemon today.41 It does have a predomi- nant voice and vote in the International Monetary Fund, but it cannot alone choose the director. It has not been able to prevail over Europe and Japan in the World Trade Organization. It opposed the Land Mines Treaty but could not prevent it from coming into existence. Saddam Hussein remained in power for more than a decade despite American efforts to drive him out. The U.S. opposed Russia’s war in Chechnya and civil war in Colombia, but to no avail. If hegemony is defined more modestly as a situation where one country has significantly more power resources or capabilities than others, then it simply signifies American preponderance, not necessarily dominance or control.42 Even after World War II, when the United States controlled half the world’s eco- nomic production (because all other countries had been devastated by the war), it was not able to prevail in all of its objectives.43

Pax Britannica in the nineteenth century is often cited as an exam- ple of successful hegemony, even though Britain ranked behind the United States and Russia in GNP. Britain was never as superior in productivity to the rest of the world as the United States has been since 1945, but as we shall see in chapter 5, Britain also had a degree of soft power. Victorian culture was influential around the globe, and Britain gained in reputation when it defined its interests in ways that benefited other nations (for example, opening its markets to imports or eradicating piracy). America lacks a global territorial empire like Britain’s, but instead possesses a large, continental-scale home econ- omy and has greater soft power. These differences between Britain and America suggest a greater staying power for American hege- mony. Political scientist William Wohlforth argues that the United States is so far ahead that potential rivals find it dangerous to invite America’s focused enmity, and allied states can feel confident that they can continue to rely on American protection.44 Thus the usual balancing forces are weakened.

Nonetheless, if American diplomacy is unilateral and arrogant, our preponderance would not prevent other states and non-state actors from taking actions that complicate American calculations and con- strain our freedom of action.45 For example, some allies may follow the

16 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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American bandwagon on the largest security issues but form coalitions to balance American behavior in other areas such as trade or the envi- ronment. And diplomatic maneuvering short of alliance can have polit- ical effects. As William Safire observed when presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush first met, “Well aware of the weakness of his hand, Putin is emulating Nixon’s strategy by playing the China card. Point- edly, just before meeting with Bush, Putin traveled to Shanghai to set up a regional cooperation semi-alliance with Jiang Zemin and some of his Asian fellow travelers.”46 Putin’s tactics, according to one reporter, “put Mr. Bush on the defensive, and Mr. Bush was at pains to assert that America is not about to go it alone in international affairs.”47

Pax Americana is likely to last not only because of unmatched American hard power but also to the extent that the United States “is uniquely capable of engaging in ‘strategic restraint,’ reassuring part- ners and facilitating cooperation.”48 The open and pluralistic way in which our foreign policy is made can often reduce surprises, allow others to have a voice, and contribute to our soft power. Moreover, the impact of American preponderance is softened when it is em- bodied in a web of multilateral institutions that allow others to par- ticipate in decisions and that act as a sort of world constitution to limit the capriciousness of American power. That was the lesson we learned as we struggled to create an antiterrorist coalition in the wake of the September 2001 attacks. When the society and culture of the hegemon are attractive, the sense of threat and need to balance it are reduced.49 Whether other countries will unite to balance Ameri- can power will depend on how the United States behaves as well as the power resources of potential challengers.

new challengers?

Periods of unequal power can produce stability, but if rising coun- tries chafe at the policies imposed by the largest, they may challenge the leading state and form alliances to overcome its strength. So who are the potential candidates that might challenge the United States, and how much of a threat do they represent?

the american colossus 17

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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China

Many view China, the world’s most populous country, as the leading candidate.50 “Almost every commentator has for some years been re- garding China as the likeliest of the usual suspects for future ‘peer competitor’ status.”51 Polls show that half the American public thinks China will pose the biggest challenge to U.S. world power status in the next hundred years (compared with 8 percent for Japan and 6 percent for Russia and Europe).52 Some observers compare the rise of authoritarian China to that of the kaiser’s Germany in the period preceding World War I. Sinologist Arthur Waldron, for example, ar- gues that “sooner or later, if present trends continue, war is probable in Asia . . . China today is actively seeking to scare the United States away from East Asia rather as Germany sought to frighten Britain be- fore World War I.” Similarly, the columnist Robert Kagan claims “the Chinese leadership views the world in much the same way Kaiser Wilhelm II did a century ago. . . . Chinese leaders chafe at the con- straints on them and worry that they must change the rules of the in- ternational system before the international system changes them.”53

Chinese leaders have often complained about U.S. “gunboat diplo- macy” and invited Russia, France, and others to join it in resisting U.S. “hegemonism.”54 Moreover, “in government pronouncements, stories in the state-run press, books and interviews, the United States is now routinely portrayed as Enemy No. 1.”55 As two sober analysts put it, “It is hardly inevitable that China will be a threat to American interests, but the United States is much more likely to go to war with China than it is with any other major power.”56

We should be skeptical, however, about drawing conclusions solely from current rhetoric, military contingency plans, and badly flawed historical analogies. In both China and the United States, perceptions of the other country are heavily colored by domestic political strug- gles, and there are people in both countries who want to see the other as an enemy. Even without such distortions, the military on both sides would be seen by its countrymen as derelict in its duties if it did not plan for all contingencies. As for history, it is important to re- member that by 1900, Germany had surpassed Britain in industrial

18 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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power and the kaiser was pursuing an adventurous, globally oriented foreign policy that was bound to bring about a clash with other great powers. In contrast, China lags far behind the United States econom- ically and has focused its policies primarily on its region and on its economic development; its official communist ideology holds little appeal. Nonetheless, the rise of China recalls Thucydides’s warning that belief in the inevitability of conflict can become one of its main causes.57 Each side, believing it will end up at war with the other, makes reasonable military preparations, which then are read by the other side as confirmation of its worst fears.

In fact, the “rise of China” is a misnomer. “Reemergence” would be more accurate, since by size and history the Middle Kingdom has long been a major power in East Asia. Technically and economically, China was the world’s leader (though without global reach) from 500 to 1500. Only in the last half millennium was it overtaken by Europe and America. The Asian Development Bank has calculated that in 1820, at the beginning of the industrial age, Asia made up an esti- mated three-fifths of world product. By 1940, this had fallen to one- fifth, even though the region was home to three-fifths of the world’s population. Rapid economic growth has brought that back to two- fifths today, and the bank speculates that Asia could return to its his- torical levels by 2025.58 Asia, of course, includes Japan, India, Korea, and others, but China will eventually play the largest role. Its high annual growth rate of 8 to 9 percent led to a remarkable tripling of its GNP in the last two decades of the twentieth century. This dramatic economic performance, along with its Confucian culture, enhanced China’s soft power in the region.

Nonetheless, China has a long way to go and faces many obstacles to its development. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the American economy is about twice the size of China’s. If the American economy grows at a 2 percent rate and China’s grows at 6 percent, the two economies would be equal in size sometime around 2020. Even so, the two economies would be equivalent in size but not equal in composition. China would still have a vast underdeveloped country- side — indeed, assuming 6 percent Chinese growth and only 2 per- cent American growth, China would not equal the United States in

the american colossus 19

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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per capita income until somewhere between 2056 and 2095 (depend- ing on the measures of comparison).59 In terms of political power, per capita income provides a more accurate measure of the sophisti- cation of an economy. The Asian Development Bank projects Chi- nese per capita income will reach 38 percent of that of the United States by 2025, about the same level relative to the United States that South Korea reached in 1990.60 That is impressive growth, but it is a long way from equality. And since the United States is unlikely to be standing still during that period, China is a long way from posing the kind of challenge to American preponderance that the kaiser’s Ger- many posed when it passed Britain at the beginning of the last century.

Moreover, linear projections of economic growth trends can be misleading. Countries tend to pick the low-hanging fruit as they ben- efit from imported technologies in the early stages of economic take- off, and growth rates generally slow as economies reach higher levels of development. In addition, the Chinese economy faces serious ob- stacles of transition from inefficient state-owned enterprises, a shaky financial system, and inadequate infrastructure. Growing inequality, massive internal migration, an inadequate social safety net, corrup- tion, and inadequate institutions could foster political instability. Coping with greatly increasing flows of information at a time when restrictions can hinder economic growth presents a sharp dilemma for Chinese leaders. As the Harvard economist Dwight Perkins points out, “Much of the early success of market reforms . . . resulted from the basic simplicity of the task.” The process of creating a rule of law and adequate institutions in the economic area will be “measured in decades, not years or months.”61 Indeed, some observers fear instabil- ity caused by a collapsing rather than rising China.62 A China that cannot control population growth, flows of migration, environmental effects on the global climate, and internal conflict poses another set of problems. Politics has a way of confounding economic projections.

As long as China’s economy does grow, it is likely that its military power will increase, thus making China appear more dangerous to its neighbors and complicating America’s commitments in the region. A RAND study projects that by 2015, China’s military expenditure will be more than six times higher than Japan’s and its accumulated military

20 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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capital stock would be some five times that of Japan (measured at purchasing power parity).63 The Gulf War of 1991, the tensions over Taiwan in 1995–96, and the Kosovo campaign of 1999 showed Chi- nese leaders how far China lagged behind in modern military capa- bilities, and as a result they nearly doubled military expenditures over the course of the 1990s. Nonetheless, China’s total military budget actually declined from 2.5 to 2 percent of GDP in the last decades of the twentieth century, and the weakness of its political system makes it inefficient at converting economic resources into military capacity.64

Some observers think that by 2005 China might achieve a military ca- pability similar to that of a European country in the early 1980s. Oth- ers, citing imported technology from Russia, are more concerned.65 In any event, growing Chinese military capacity would mean that any American military role in the region will require more resources.

Whatever the accuracy of such assessments of China’s military growth, the most useful tool for our purposes is comparative assess- ment, and that depends on what the United States (and other coun- tries) will be doing over the next decades. The key to military power in the information age depends on the ability to collect, process, dis- seminate, and integrate data from complex systems of space-based surveillance, high-speed computers, and “smart” weapons. China (and others) will develop some of these capabilities, but according to the Australian analyst Paul Dibb and colleagues, the revolution in military affairs (RMA) “will continue to favor heavily American mil- itary predominance. It is not likely that China will, in any meaningful way, close the RMA gap with the U.S.”66

Robert Kagan believes that China aims “in the near term to replace the United States as the dominant power in East Asia and in the long term to challenge America’s position as the dominant power in the world.”67 Even if this is an accurate assessment of China’s intentions (and that is debated by experts), it is doubtful that China will have the capability. Every country has a wish list that reads like a menu without prices. Left to itself, China might like to force the return of Taiwan, dominate the South China Sea, and be recognized as the primary state in the East Asian region, but Chinese leaders will have to contend with the prices imposed by other countries as well as the constraints created

the american colossus 21

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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by their own objectives of economic growth and the need for external markets and resources. Moreover, too aggressive a Chinese posture could produce a countervailing coalition among its neighbors in the region that would weaken both its hard and soft power.

The fact that China is not likely to become a peer competitor to the United States on a global basis does not mean that it could not challenge the United States in East Asia or that war over Taiwan is not possible. Weaker countries sometimes attack when they feel backed into a corner, such as Japan did at Pearl Harbor or China did when it entered the Korean War in 1950. “Under certain conditions Beijing will likely be fully undeterrable. If, for example, Taiwan were to declare independence, it is hard to imagine that China would forgo the use of force against Taiwan, regardless of the perceived eco- nomic or military costs, the likely duration or intensity of American intervention, or the balance of forces in the region.”68 But it would be unlikely to win such a war.

The U.S.-Japan alliance, which the Clinton-Hashimoto declaration of 1996 reaffirmed as the basis for stability in post–Cold War East Asia, is an important impediment to Chinese ambitions. This means that in the triangular politics of the region, China cannot play Japan against the United States or try to expel the Americans from the area. From that position of strength, the United States and Japan can work to engage China as its power grows, and provide incentives for it to play a responsible role. How China will behave as its power increases is an open question, but as long as the United States remains present in the region, maintains its relationship with Japan, does not support independence for Taiwan, and exercises its power in a reasonable way, it is unlikely that any country or coalition will successfully challenge its role in the region, much less at the global level. If the United States and China stumble into war or a cold war in East Asia, it will more likely be caused by inept policy related to Taiwan’s independence rather than China’s success as a global challenger.

Japan

Japan’s economy has recently been in the doldrums because of poor policy decisions, but it would be a mistake to sell Japan short. It pos-

22 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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sesses the world’s second largest national economy, highly sophisti- cated industry, the largest number of Internet users after the United States, and the most modern military in Asia. While China has nu- clear weapons and more men under arms, Japan’s military is better equipped and better trained. It also has the technological capacity to develop nuclear weapons very quickly if it chose to do so.

Only a decade ago Americans feared being overtaken by the Japan- ese. A 1989 Newsweek article put it succinctly: “In boardrooms and government bureaus around the world, the uneasy question is whether Japan is about to become a superpower, supplanting Amer- ica as the colossus of the Pacific and perhaps even the world’s No. 1 nation.”69 Books predicted a Japanese-led Pacific bloc that would ex- clude the United States, and even an eventual war between Japan and the United States.70 Futurologist Herman Kahn had forecast that Japan would become a nuclear superpower and that the transition in Japan’s role would be like “the change brought about in European and world affairs in the 1870s by the rise of Prussia.”71 These views extrapolated from an impressive Japanese record.72

On the eve of World War II, Japan had accounted for 5 percent of world industrial production. Devastated by the war, it did not regain that level until 1964. From 1950 to 1974, Japan averaged a remarkable 10 percent annual growth rate, and by the 1980s it had become the world second largest economy, with 15 percent of world product.73 It became the world’s largest creditor and largest donor of foreign aid. Its technology was roughly equal to that of the United States and even slightly ahead in some areas of manufacturing. Japan armed only lightly (restricting military expenditures to about 1 percent of GNP) and focused on economic growth as a highly successful strategy. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, it created the most modern and best-equipped conventional military force in East Asia.

Japan has an impressive historical record of reinventing itself. A century and a half ago, Japan became the first non-Western country to successfully adapt to modern globalization.74 After centuries of isolation, Japan’s Meiji Restoration chose selectively from the rest of the world, and within half a century the country became strong enough to defeat a European great power in the Russo-Japanese War. After 1945, it rose from the ashes of World War II. Recently, a prime

the american colossus 23

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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minister’s commission on Japan’s goals in the twenty-first century has called for a new reinvention.75 Given the weakness of the political process, the need for further deregulation, the aging of the popula- tion, and the resistance to immigration, such change will not be easy and may take more than a decade to complete.76 But given the con- tinuing skills of Japan’s people, the stability of its society, areas of technological leadership (for instance, mobile Internet applica- tions), and manufacturing skills, current assessments of Japan may be too depressed.

Could a revived Japan, a decade or two hence, become a global challenger to the United States, economically or militarily, as was predicted a decade ago? It seems unlikely. Roughly the size of Califor- nia, Japan will never have the geographical or population scale of the United States. Its record of economic success and its popular culture provide Japan with soft power, but the nation’s ethnocentric attitudes and policies undercut that. Japan does show some ambition to im- prove its status as a world power. It seeks a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and polls show that many younger Japanese are interested in becoming a more “normal country” in terms of defense. Some politicians have started a movement to revise Article 9 of the country’s constitution, which restricts Japan’s forces to self-defense. If the United States were to drop its alliance with Japan and follow the advice of those who want us to stay “offshore” and shift our allegiance back and forth to balance China and Japan, we could produce the sense of insecurity that might lead Japan to de- cide it had to develop its own nuclear capacity.77

Alternatively, if Japan were to ally with China, the combined re- sources of the two countries would make a potent coalition. While not impossible, such an alliance seems unlikely unless the United States makes a serious diplomatic or military blunder. Not only have the wounds of the 1930s failed to heal completely, but China and Japan have conflicting visions of Japan’s proper place in Asia and in the world.78 China would want to constrain Japan, but Japan might not want to play second fiddle. In the highly unlikely prospect that the United States were to withdraw from the East Asian region, Japan might join a Chinese bandwagon. But given Japanese concerns about

24 the paradox of american power

Nye, J. S. (2003). The paradox of american power : Why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone. ProQuest Ebook Central <a onclick=window.open(‘http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’,’_blank’) href=’http://ebookcentral.proquest.com’ target=’_blank’ style=’cursor: pointer;’>http://ebookcentral.proquest.com</a> Created from du on 2021-01-25 15:05:03.

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the rise of Chinese power, continued alliance with the United States is the most likely outcome. An allied East Asia is not a plausible can- didate to be the challenger that displaces the United States.

Russia

If Japan is an unlikely ally for China, what about Russia? Balance-of- power politics might predict such an alliance as a response to the 1996 reaffirmation of the U.S.-Japan security treaty. And there is his- torical precedent for such a union: in the 1950s, China and the Soviet Union were allied against the United States. After Nixon’s opening to China in 1972, the triangle worked the other way, with the United States and China cooperating to limit what both saw as a threatening Soviet power. That alliance ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1992, Russia and China declared their relations a “con- structive partnership”; in 1996, they proclaimed a “strategic partner- ship”; and in July 2001 they signed a treaty of “friendship and cooperation.” A theme of the partnership is common opposition to the present (U.S.-dominated) “unipolar world.”79 China and Russia each supported America’s anti-terrorist campaign after September, but remained leery of American power.

Despite the rhetoric, there are serious obstacles to a military al- liance between China and Russia. The demographic situation in the Far East, where the population on the Russian side of the border is 6 million to 8 million and on the China side is up to 120 million, cre- ates a degree of anxiety in Moscow.80 Russia’s economic and military decline has increased its concern about the rise of Chinese power. Trade and investment between the two countries is minor, and both sides rely much more on access to Western (including American) markets in goods and finance. It would take very clumsy (but not im- possible) American behavior to overcome these obstacles and drive Russia and China more fully into each other’s arms. As one observer has commented, the “way for the United States to retain its overall in- fluence is to exercise power in a restrained, predictable manner that disproves the charge of hegemonism.”81 The more heavy-handed we are, the more we help Russia and China overcome their differences.

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