Unipolar moment or unipolar era?

UNIPOLAR MOMENT OR UNIPOLAR ERA: THE FUTURE OF AMERICA’S ASSERTIVE GRAND STRATEGY
February 2005.

In the run up to the 2000 election, Condoleezza Rice laid out the central tenet of candidate Bush’s foreign policy manifesto: ‘Foreign policy in a Republican administration will … proceed from the firm ground of the national interest, not from the interests of an illusory international community’.[1] Five years later, one European newspaper marked President Bush’s second inauguration by announcing ‘world fears new Bush era’ on its front page.[2] In the interim, an aggressive foreign policy agenda and style had upset America’s singular position in the world. According to Bush, ‘the president’s goal is not to take an international poll’.[3] However, had he done so, he would have discovered a global plummet in US favorability ratings. Even in Britain, where the 83 percent had viewed the US favorably as the Clinton era ended, only 48 percent did so by March 2003.[4] American favorability ratings fell further among US allies within the Muslim world – to 1 percent in Jordan and 12 percent in Turkey in May 2003.[5] Despite the enormity of US power, world opinion counts. By abandoning internationalism and by the shortsighted use of American power without reference to legitimizing diplomatic initiatives, the Bush foreign policy has eroded the foundations of American preeminence. As the National Intelligence Council (NIC) concluded, the decline in US favorability ratings in many major states ‘is perhaps the most important unknown dynamic that could quickly and unexpectedly lead to dramatic shifts in state strategies toward the United States’.[6] Even though its key objectives rely upon the maintenance of a convivial unipolar order, America’s aggressive grand strategy and haughty unilateralism threaten to reduce the unipolar moment to a unipolar instant. This paper will examine the relative merits of internationalism and unilateralism in the unipolar world, and will consider the dangers of a continued aggressive, unilateral grand strategy.

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Despite the opprobrium which it poured on America in the run up to the Iraq invasion, Europe had been generally untroubled by the lack of American respect for the UN and Security Council during the cold war period.[7] The dark alternative of Soviet expansion cast all shades of American leadership in a lighter tone, and the restraint which Soviet reactive capacity imposed on American action gave the middle powers confidence.[8] For DeGaulle’s France and Brandt’s Germany, self-interest, rather than the formal sanction of international institutions, legitimized American action. Yet in the post cold war era there is no Soviet threat to legitimize American action. Nor can other nations be reassured of American restraint in the new unipolar world. America is at once more capable of acting unilaterally, and its unilateral actions are more likely to be perceived as threats by other nations. Moreover, as the 1990s progressed, America’s position relative to the other powers grew stronger. Europe concentrated on integration, Japan and Asia suffered economic convulsion, and the Soviet nations struggled to come to terms with the post Communist era. The early 1990s witnessed the advent of the American ‘unipolar moment’, which continues to the present day.[9] However, a nation with power has the tendency to generate a perception of threat among lesser nations by virtue of its capabilities rather than its intent. In what sixteenth century statesmen would refer to as alliance against universal monarchy, the threatened nations form counterbalancing coalitions to check the capabilities of the dominating or potentially dominating power.[10] ‘International politics abhors unbalanced power’, according to Waltz, ‘as nature abhors a vacuum’.[11] Yet there was no significant counter balancing against US power in the immediate post-cold war era. The world largely accepted rather than resisted unipolarity. Stephen Walt handily explains this by the ‘balance of threat’ theory which argues that nations react against perceived threats, not against power.[12] America’s institutional commitments, internal democratic politics, and its geographic position are oft cited as factors that minimize the threat which other nations perceived it to pose. During the post-cold war period, the US maintained an internationalist foreign policy with some respect for liberal institutionalism and institutional restraints. As decade progressed, America’s maintenance and expansion of cold war alliances and relationships signaled that it would stay on the same foreign policy course that it had adhered to since the end of WW2. While the US pursued some military operations without reference to UN and NATO, this was limited to those that were cases that were internationally acceptable. Despite the enormity of its military power, the US generally sought consensus to minimize diplomatic liabilities when engaging in potentially controversial foreign policy initiatives such as military interventions. The hegemon understood the necessity of legitimizing its actions. Its hegemony was unquestionable, but the direct threat it posed to the other powers in the world was discounted by the convivial stability it policed. As the Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe puts it, ‘America irks and domineers, but it does not conquer. It tries to call the shots and bend the rules, but it does not go to war for land and glory’.[13]

To Max Boot, this restrained approach was ‘scandalously irresolute’ in the absence of a Communist counterweight to American empire. Clinton refrained from imposing solutions upon ‘troubled lands [that] today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets’.[14] Even before the neo conservative nation builders and region transformers came to the fore of US policymaking, President Bush Jr’s foreign policy was set upon a revolutionary course that suggested its obliviousness to diplomatic costs and distain for the internationalist cold and post cold war foreign policy. The Bush team had canvassed on an isolationist foreign policy agenda which included missile defense and withdrawal from the Balkans at a very early stage.[15] They inherited America’s hub and spoke architecture of alliances upon which the world order is structured, and proposed to pull out the hub. Much as America’s earlier decision not to join the League of Nations had done, the isolationist policy showed a lack of interest in world affairs and a lack of appreciation for the singular position America occupied at as the focus of an alliance based international system. From the outset, the Bush administration had little interest in the world order over which it presided. Even before 9-11 and the subsequent neo-conservative policies, the Bush administration had little appreciation for America’s role as ‘indispensable nation’. Since America was the lynch pin of the international order, the very notion of American isolationism was antithetical to previous policy in which America benefited from, and provided the basis for, ‘global public goods’.[16] These goods include regional security assurances in the Middle East, Asia and Central Europe, promotion of free trade, security in international waters. Bush Sr. and Clinton had sought to extend these benefits of order over international anarchy to give American unipolarity an appreciable value to other nations. In short, the immediate post cold war Presidents sought to be underwriters of the international order. Bush Jr. sought isolationism initially, and unilateralism eventually, both of which corroded the international order. The new administration viewed existing close knit alliances and the restraints they imposed as obsolete in the context of America’s undisputed dominance. Condoleezza Rice remarked that ‘the Clinton administration’s … pursuit of, at best, illusory “norms” of international behavior have become an epidemic’.[17] Accordingly, maintaining good relations with other world powers took a back seat, and foreign policy became characterized with a hardheaded unwillingness to compromise. As one observer warns, the Bush foreign policy and its disregard for allies and international opinion is a ‘geostrategic wreaking ball that will destroy America’s half-century old international architecture’.[18]

Policy hawks in the Bush Jr. administration viewed the Clinton years as a missed opportunity to extend American influence in a world free of a communist alternative.[19] They gave a revolutionary definition to post 9-11 foreign policy and the attacks gave them the political capital necessary to make bold unilateral moves.[20] The neo conservatives’ ascendance to power under the Bush administration recalled Kissinger’s complaints about the neo conservatives in the early 1980s: ‘a group of accommodation-prone, European-influenced leaders was overcome by the knights-errant who suddenly appeared on the scene and prevailed in short order by proclaiming the distinction between good and evil and the revolutionary role of democratic principles’.[21] Albright’s view that ‘freedom is America’s purpose, like other profound human aspirations, it can never be fully achieved’, was an anathema to the neo-conservatives.[22] Feith’s statement on Iraq and Afghanistan is one example of their ambitious foreign policy agenda: ‘In Iraq and Afghanistan, democratization has begun. … It would be desirable if the Middle East reached a political turning point similar to the points in history when Asian democracy and Latin American democracy blossomed and spread rapidly’.[23] This aggressive foreign policy program, and the uncompromising and fractious manner in which it was pursued in the face of international opposition, suggests to long established allies that the US is not interested in their concerns or objectives. Writing about the faults in policymaking during the Vietman War, Hans Morgenthau described a ‘pathology of international politics’ in which the policy makers impose an a priori picture ‘derived from folklore and ideological assumption’ on reality, ‘refus[e] to correct this picture in the light of experience … and the use of intelligence for the purpose … of interpreting reality to fit policy’.[24] Zbigniew Brzezinski believes the same is true of post 9-11 neo conservative policymakers: ‘within a somewhat doctrinaire setting of like-minded top level officials a tendency develops towards mutually reinforcing self-delusions. Desires, phobias, aspirations, and even passions then are melded into a perspective in which reality becomes easily distorted’.[25] Naturally, if the other nations of the world fear that a crusading, unrealistic zeal has overcome the world’s chief power, they are more likely to react against that power rather than engage with it. A hegemon on a revolutionary crusade is more threatening to other nations than one who upholds the world order.

Thus the Bush administration, whose isolationism had been a threat to the established world order at the outset, became a revolutionary threat to the international order. Dismissive of the internationalist consultative approach, which entailed compromise, agreement, and the dilution of American decision making, the neo conservatives pursued this revolutionary international agenda purely on the basis of American power, rejecting legitimizing institutions and undercutting the established basis of American leadership. Not only did the substance of their policy imply new threats to other nations, but perceptions of threat were exacerbated by the style of its articulation. Francois Heisbourg has observed that, in diplomacy, style can be as important as substance.[26] This was lost on the incoming Bush team. The National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) provide examples of the Bush approach and the reactions it garnered. The NSS and NPR were aggressively framed to replace unspoken understandings about American use of preemption with bold assertions of America’s right to launch preemptive strikes. Even though there had been a longstanding tacit acceptance of preemption in international affairs, the unabashed statement of American dominance provoked widespread international opposition. When Bush Jr threatened Iraq, the Europeans claimed that UN authorization was a prerequisite, despite Iraq’s longstanding breech of UN resolution 688. Yet European forces actually participated in the 1999 Kosovo air campaign despite the absence of an explicit Security Council mandate. Clinton, despite presiding over the same position of American unipolar power, enjoyed a margin for maneuver in international politics that his successor lacks. Though Clinton’s approach was less bombastic and militaristic than post-9/11 Bush foreign policy, his ‘enlargement and engagement’, much like Bush Sr’s ‘new world order’, was not strictly a status quo policy.[27] Indeed, it was in keeping with the demands of offensive realism.[28] Yet Clinton sought and enjoyed international support for his activist foreign policy.[29] During the 1990s, American influence expanded eastwards to Russia’s borders through NATO and the Partnership for Peace. He acted without Security Council sanction in Bosnia, Haiti, and Kosovo. As Sandy Berger writes, in summing up the advantages of the Clinton administration’s consultative approach over the Bush approach, ‘our natural allies are much more likely to be persuaded by the power of our arguments than by the argument of American power’.[30] The consultative approach, shunned by the Bush administration, was an essential element to reducing the perception of threat arising from American power. As Zakaria points out, Roosevelt made the forty hour sea and air journey to Tehran and Yalta in a terrible physical condition, with ten pounds of steel leg braces in tow, at the height of America’s relative global power. Would Bush have attended given the same circumstances, or would he have sent a deputy? [31]

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A crucial question for US policymakers must be whether the US can continue to achieve its foreign policy goals at little cost as it did in the Bush and Clinton years. In the new international situation, other nations are adapting to American preeminence. Some resist American power, and others attempt to engage with it in order to influence how it is used.[32] Continued clumsy assertiveness in the mode of the first Bush Jr term could promote defensive regionalism, soft balancing, and eventual counterbalancing by regional blocs. By disrupting the status quo and arousing such reactions, Washington runs the risk of intensifying the placid reactions that potential balancers have adopted to its unipolar power since the end of the cold war. Nation states and regions are not ‘hard’ balancing against US power in overt coalitions, but they are engaging in other forms of strategic reactions to unipolarity.[33] Less overt strategic responses which rarely tackle the United States head on can undermine its influence and the ease with which it can achieve its foreign policy objectives. European initiatives for a credible separate military capability and ASEAN consolidation are examples of ‘buffering’ – regional movements towards policy cooperation and coordination in the face of global hegemonic power (and, admittedly, other concerns). The disincentives against overt balancing of US hegemonic power are great, and the US does not at the present time pose an immediate threat to the interest of important powers. Yet the friction caused by the Iraq War prompted Europeans to discuss their Union’s roll as a counterweight to American power. When polled, European respondents indicated that they felt Europe should be as powerful as America.[34] This ‘buffering’ reaction to American power could someday provide a framework of support for a rising regional hegemon to challenge US power. The US should therefore avoid arousing regional buffering reactions. States can also adopt the soft measures of withholding consent and cooperation for American ventures, as the French and Germans did at the Security Council during the Iraq WMD debates. Crucially, this can include denying strategic assets and troop commitment to the United States, as Turkey did during the invasion, and denying legitimacy, which hinders US diplomatic power. As the Iraq War and its aftermath demonstrate, these are capable balancing measures which can restrict the US margin for maneuver in international affairs. This is particularly true in the context of America’s casualty averse domestic public opinion. The US, which had shunned old Europe and the UN, returned to request support and legitimacy when the occupation became a heavy burden. It is logical to conclude that the more likely America is to adhere to established rule based multilateralism, seeking international legitimacy for its foreign policy endeavors, the more likely nations will feel they have more to gain from engaging with American power rather than resisting it. The consultative internationalist approach can afford America a greater margin for maneuver at less cost in the longer term than the bombastic unilateral approach. Should America loose margin for maneuver and international support, two key goals for the coming century would be seriously undermined: countering the challenge posed by mass-casualty terrorism, and preventing a return to great power confrontation, nuclear proliferation and war.

The nation-state and usurper non-state actors are at an historic cross-road. As the leading nation-state, America faces the task of asserting the nation-states’ monopoly on mass-casualty and nuclear capabilities against the challenge of increasingly potent non-state actors.[35] Not only is America a primary target for such actors, but its power depends on the status quo of state supremacy. Therefore, American interest demands the most effective response to the usurping non-state actors. This goal is best met through a cooperative approach within the framework of a benign hegemony. As Powell put the State Department view, ‘we do not see the war against terrorism and the nurturing of constructive relationships among major powers as mutually exclusive tasks. … We seek enhanced great power cooperation with an eye towards success in the war on terrorism’.[36] Great power competition and weak international institutions would make a cohesive response to non-state actors impossible. Therefore every means towards a stable international order in which international institutions can facilitate apprehension and intervention might be preferable to the prospect of an isolated, bombastic America unilaterally pursuing terrorists with coalitions of the willing in toe. Krauthammer makes the point that Bush’s assertive, unilateral posture is a more effective stick to gain foreign cooperation in the war on terror than the various carrots that Clinton favored. He gives the example of Yemen and the USS Cole bombing. While the Clinton administration received inadequate support from Yemen in the Cole investigation, the Bush tough line actually pressured Yemen to join the war on terror coalition.[37] This logic runs parallel to Donald Rumsfeld’s favorite Al Capone quote: ‘You will get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone’.[38] Yet since Schroeder in Germany, Lula in Brazil, and Roh in South Korea have all exploited domestic anti-American sentiment to secure their election victories, the ‘gun’ becomes an unreliable tool because domestic politics around the world could return radically anti-American leaders in nations where US pressure is applied with too much force. The problem, as Berger noted in 2004, is that ‘we can compel, but far too often we cannot persuade’.[39]

Despite the threats posed by mass-casualty terrorism, the most important long term priority of US policymakers remains the maintenance of peace between nuclear armed nations. Nuclear war between states remains the most dangerous prospect in international affairs. While the fatalities and physical damage caused by a terrorist nuclear strike would be considerable, they would be relatively low in comparison to a nuclear exchange between nations.[40] Biological or radiological attacks by terrorists would pale in comparison.[41] Despite unipolarity, it is not farfetched to discuss the dangers of nuclear war. If the international environment becomes less convivial, nations may find it necessary to develop nuclear capabilities in order to ward off the threat of American power.[42] Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez provides some insight: ‘before one challenges the United States, one must first acquire nuclear weapons.’[43] In 1998, North Korea tested its three stage Taepo-dong ballistic missile. The restraint with which American officials have talked and acted about nuclear equipped North Korea compared to the bombastic rhetoric and threats leveled at potentially nuclear Iran illustrates the attractions of nuclear proliferation in an imperial, rather than benign, unipolar world. North Korea recently declared its nuclear capabilities on 10 February 2005, citing US rhetoric about regime change in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK):

This compels us to take a measure to bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal in order to protect the ideology, system, freedom and democracy chosen by its people. … The DPRK has clarified its stand that it would not pursue anti-Americanism and [will] treat the US as a friendly nation if it neither slanders the political system in the DPRK nor interferes in its internal affairs.[44]

Though the North Korean nuclear capability is probably limited and unreliable at best, and bluff at worst, its announcement may have the effect to moderating American policy towards Pyongyang. The attraction of nuclear arms in a world where the unipolar power behaves aggressively are manifold, and only a multilateral non-proliferation system can address the problem. Despite Cheney’s apocalyptic prediction in 1990 that by the year 2000, two dozen developing nations would have ballistic missiles, the divisive nuclear defense program will leave the US mainland exposed for at least a decade – assuming the system works.[45] Missile defense might be a means to return to the days before long-range bombers and ballistic missile technology when oceans protected America, but it is not clear whether the system is effective. If American posture becomes adequately threatening and unpredictable, states equipped with untested rudimentary nuclear devices, and perhaps fully fledged nuclear programs, could multiply and threaten American overseas interests, and possibly the mainland, and proliferate further. One critic of Clinton’s foreign policy suggests that an internationalist treaty based approach to so-called ‘rogue states’ is irrelevant since they are not reliable signatories, yet this misses the point.[46] Treaties are not merely legal documents dependent upon the reliability of signatories, but are also examples of America’s willingness to abide by the international norms that Rice dismissed. Whether or not a ‘rogue state’ cosignatory is credible, American treaty commitments have the effect of reducing perceptions of American threat, thereby minimizing the incentive to seek nuclear weapons.

˜ ™

The existing unipolar configuration of world power, unstable and dependent upon Washington’s prudent internationalist leadership though it might be, can minimize the risk of great power confrontation and nuclear proliferation among lesser states, and maximize efforts to face off potent non-state actors. Since the end of the Cold War, America has occupied a privileged position in world affairs. Though possessing unipolar power, its acceptance of institutional restraints and multilateral processes minimized the perception that US power posed a threat to the other nations of the world. This allowed it to achieve its foreign policy goals at little cost. Nonetheless, the hegemon walked a tightrope between over exploiting its dominant power and maintaining international consensus behind its foreign policy initiatives. President Bush’s aggressive foreign policy style and rejection of internationalism threaten this privileged position. The US now pursues foreign policy objectives that disrupt the world order rather than underwrite it. Waltz writes that international politics is ‘too serious a business’ for simply maximizing power when a softly, softly approach might adequately guarantee a nation’s security.[47] Yet the confidence that comes with unipolarity obscures such logic. As Stephen Walt observes, ‘great power may or may not corrupt, but it certainly tempts; and self-restraint is not a cardinal US virtue’.[48] By eschewing the unipolar prerogative at his disposal in the wake of the Soviet collapse, and by maintaining the alliances and inclusive approach of his predecessor, President Clinton maintained the legitimacy that cold war competition and restraints had previously afforded. Yet even with Clinton’s internationalist consultative approach, American power was so great during the 1990s that it faced inevitable reactions. Huntington sensibly cautioned in 1999 that despite the benevolence of American leadership, ‘benign hegemony, however, is in the eye of the hegemon’. Whispers of counterbalancing were already in the air at the close of the Clinton era.[49] Should other nations use diplomatic and economic power to ‘soft balance’ against the threat of US power, its ease of maneuver in international affairs will be reduced. Paul Kennedy identified two challenges that would test the longevity of American preeminence. Could the US maintain the capacity to sustain defense requirements? Could it preserve its technological and economic preeminence?[50] These two tests seem answered for the present, but a third test should be added. Can America maintain its peculiar role as benign hegemon in the global order? The current administration, preoccupied with the fruits of the material strengths to which Kennedy referred, has virtually ignored the third test. The Bush administration’s aggressive foreign policy is eroding the basis for American leadership, and increasing the difficulty with which America can achieve its foreign policy goals. Yet the perils of nuclear proliferation, increasingly potent non-state actors, and the disruption of the unipolar order loom. America must return to less assertive policy or operate in a less convivial, and ultimately more dangerous, world. The ‘unipolar moment’ must not become a unipolar instant. [51]


[1] C. Rice, ‘Promoting the national interest’, Foreign Affairs (January – February 2000), p. 48, 62.[2] ‘World fears new Bush era’, The Guardian (20 January 2005).

[3] President Bush quoted in F. Zakaria, ‘Americans eat cheese too’, Newsweek (11 October 2004).

[4] Trends 2005, (Pew Research Centre, 2005), p. 106.

[5] ibid., p. 107.

[6] G. J. Ikenberry, ‘Strategic reactions to American preeminence: Great power politics in the age of unipolarity’ (National Intelligence Council conference report, 28 July 2003).

[7] C. Krauthammer, ‘The myth of UN support’, The Washington Post (4 October 2002).

[8] R. Kagan, ‘American crisis of legitimacy’, Foreign Affairs, Mar. – April 2004.

[9] C. Krauthammer, ‘the unipolar moment’, Foreign Affairs America and the world edition (1991); for a vivid description of current military strength see P. Kennedy, ‘The greatest superpower ever’, New Perspectives Quarterly (Winter, 2002).

[10] H. Morgenthau, Politics among nations: the struggle for power and peace (brief edition, New York, 1993), pp 202-04.

[11] K. N. Waltz, The balance of power and NATO expansion (working paper, Berkeley Centre for German and European Studies, October 1998).

[12] S. M. Walt, ‘Keeping the world ‘off-balance’’, in G. J. Ikenberry (ed.), America Unrivalled (New York, 2002).

[13] J. Joffe, ‘Gulliver unbound: can America rule the world?’, John Bonython lecture at the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, 6 August 2003.

[14] M. Boot, ‘The case for American empire’, The Weekly Standard (15 October 2001).

[15] ‘Foreign policy teams coming of age’, International Herald Tribune, 2 November 2000 (URL: http://www.iht.com/articles/166.html, accessed 9 February 2005).

[16] See J. S. Nye, The paradox of American power: why the world’s only superpower can’t go it alone (New York, 2002).

[17] C. Rice, ‘Promoting the national interest’, Foreign Affairs (January – February 2000), p. 48, 62.

[18] G. J. Ikenberry, ‘The end of the neo-conservative moment’, Survival (spring, 2004).

[19] On the Clinton years as a missed opportunity, see Statement of principles by the project for a new American century (3 June 1997).

[20] Among many accounts of the changes in the administration’s outlook following 9/11 is N. Lemann, ‘The next world order’, The New Yorker (1 April 2002); see also Clarke, J. and Halper, S., America alone (Cambridge, 2004).

[21] H. Kissinger, ‘Between the old left and the new right’, Foreign Affairs (May – June 1999), p. 115.

[22] M. K. Albright, ‘The testing of American foreign policy’, Foreign Affairs (November – December 1998), p. 64.

[23] Department of Defense under secretary for policy Douglas Feith remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations (13 November 2003).

[24] H. Morgenthau, Politics among nations: the struggle for power and peace (brief edition, New York, 1993).

[25] Author’s interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 2004.

[26] F. Heisbourg, ‘A work in progress: the Bush doctrine and its consequences’, Washington Quarterly (Spring, 2003).

[27] As Christopher Layne notes in his criticism of what he views as dangerous tendencies towards preponderance, see C. Layne, ‘From preponderance to offshore balancing: America’s future grand strategy’, International Security (Summer, 1997); see also K. N. Waltz, The balance of power and NATO expansion (working paper, Berkeley Centre for German and European Studies, October 1998).

[28] J. Mearscheimer, The tragedy of great power politics (New York, 2001).

[29] F. Zakaria, ‘Arrogant empire’, Newsweek (24 March 2003).

[30] S. Berger, ‘Foreign policy for a democratic president’, Foreign Affairs, May – June 2004, p. 51.

[31] Zakaria, F., ‘Arrogant empire’, Newsweek (24 March 2003).

[32] G. J. Ikenberry, ‘Strategic reactions to American preeminence: Great power politics in the age of unipolarity’ (National Intelligence Council conference report, 28 July 2003).

[33] ibid.; see also S. M. Walt, ‘Can the United States be balanced?: if so, how?’, annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, 2 – 5 September 2004; J. S. Nye, ‘The decline of America’s soft power why Washington should worry’ in Foreign Affairs (May/June 2004); For the European reaction, see C. A. Kupchan, ‘Resent, resist, compete’, The World Today, July 2004 and ‘The rise of Europe, America’s changing internationalism, and the end of U.S. primacy’, Political Science Quarterly (Summer 2003); For a prediction of reduced US–Japanese amity, W. E. Rapp, ‘Past its prime? The future of the US–Japan alliance’, Parameters (2004).

[34] Trends 2005, (Pew Research Centre, 2005), p. 118.

[35] On the feasibility of non-state actors producing nuclear devices see R. A. Falkenrath, R. D. Newman, B. A. Thayer, America’s Achilles heel: nuclear, biological, and chemical terrorism and covert attack (Belfer Centre Studies in International Security, Cambridge, MA, 2001).

[36] C. Powell, ‘A strategy of partnerships’, Foreign Affairs, Jan.-Feb. 2004, p. 29.

[37] C. Krauthammer, ‘A new type of realism’, The National Interest (Winter 2002-03).

[38] Quoted in F. Zakaria, ‘Arrogant empire’, Newsweek (24 March 2003).

[39] S. Berger, ‘Foreign policy for a democratic president’, Foreign Affairs, May – June 2004, p. 48.

[40] For estimation of a one kiloton explosion in a dense urban area see J. Stern, The ultimate terrorists (Cambridge, MA, 1999); see also The effects of nuclear war (Office of technology, 1980, New Jersey) for urban nuclear attack estimations.

[41] Known instances of chemical and biological terrorism employed crude delivery devices with maximum potential fatalities numbering only in the hundreds. See J. B. Tucker (ed.), Toxic terror: assessing terrorist use of chemical and biological weapons (Belfer Centre Studies in International Security, Cambridge, MA, 1999). Some estimates differ, claiming huge fatalities – e.g. see W. Laqueur, No end to war (London, 2004).

[42] Indeed, a recent NIC report estimated that a number of nations would seek nuclear weapons over the next fifteen years, Mapping the world’s future: Report of the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 project (December 2004).

[43] Quoted in R. McNamara, ‘New Bush policy will cause spread of nuclear weapons globally’, New Perspectives Quarterly (Winter 2002).

[44] Statement released through the KCNA news agency, available on BBC online (URL: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4252515.stm, accessed on 11 February 2005).

[45] Cheney quoted in C. Krauthammer, ‘The unipolar moment’, Foreign Affairs America and the world edition (1991).

[46] C. Krauthammer, ‘Clinton writ small’, The Washington Post (25 June 2004).

[47] K. N. Waltz, Theory of international politics (New York, 1978), pp 126-27.

[48] S. M. Walt, ‘Keeping the world ‘off-balance’’, in G. J. Ikenberry (ed.), America unrivalled (New York, 2002), p. 153.

[49] S. Huntington, ‘The lonely superpower’, Foreign Affairs (March – Fall, 1999), p. 42; The Primakov doctrine is one such example of possible balancing. It called for a strategic triangle between Russia, China and India to balance American power.

[50] P. Kennedy, The rise and fall of the great powers (London, 1989), p. 665.

[51] ‘Unipolar moment’ is a phrase coined in C. Krauthammer, ‘The unipolar moment’, Foreign Affairs (1991).

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