Friday, April 04, 2014

Good-Bye Hegemony!: Power and Influence in the Global System

Simon Reich & Richard Ned Lebow
Princeton University Press, 2014

Many policymakers, journalists, and scholars insist that U.S. hegemony is essential for warding off global chaos. Good-Bye Hegemony! argues that hegemony is a fiction propagated to support a large defense establishment, justify American claims to world leadership, and buttress the self-esteem of voters. It is also contrary to American interests and the global order. Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow argue that hegemony should instead find expression in agenda setting, economic custodianship, and the sponsorship of global initiatives. Today, these functions are diffused through the system, with European countries, China, and lesser powers making important contributions. In contrast, the United States has often been a source of political and economic instability.

Rejecting the focus on power common to American realists and liberals, the authors offer a novel analysis of influence. In the process, they differentiate influence from power and power from material resources. Their analysis shows why the United States, the greatest power the world has ever seen, is increasingly incapable of translating its power into influence. Reich and Lebow use their analysis to formulate a more realistic place for America in world affairs.

Simon Reich is professor of global affairs and political science at Rutgers University, Newark. Richard Ned Lebow is professor of international political theory at King's College London and the James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Government Emeritus at Dartmouth College.

"Mounting a frontal challenge to reigning theories in international relations and the conventional wisdom regarding the place of the United States in the international system, Good-Bye Hegemony! shows that the country stopped acting like a hegemon a long time ago. This accessible and engaging work will spark interesting and useful discussions in international relations and comparative foreign policy."--Jeffrey Anderson, Georgetown University

"It seems that only yesterday 'American empire' was a hot topic, but Reich and Lebow demonstrate that even U.S. hegemony was a short-lived post-World War II phenomenon. Though the United States maintains enormous military and economic capabilities, its actual influence and legitimacy are seriously limited in today's multipower world. The authors' argument--that the United States is most effective when emphasizing persuasion and sponsorship--will be central to future policy debates."--Yale H. Ferguson, Rutgers University

"In this thought-provoking and sobering narrative, Reich and Lebow take direct aim at the international relations establishment, arguing for the limits of material power and the importance of legitimacy in gauging America's global influence."--James Goldgeier, American University

"This book's main arguments against hegemonic theory are strong and necessary: the hegemonic period was not as great as rose-colored remembrances portray, the United States was not as benevolent a hegemon as often claimed, and hegemony did not last as long as often depicted. The book makes a forceful statement and should be part of the debate."--Bruce W. Jentleson, Duke University

"This beautifully provocative book turns the mainstream debate on the global power shift upside down. Reconceptualizing the relationship between power and influence, it refutes the widespread view that the United States must remain the world's hegemon and provides the blueprint for a more cooperative U.S. foreign policy. A must-read for all who care about the world's future."--Harald Mueller, executive director of the Peace Research Institute, Frankfurt

Table of Contents:
List of Tables ix
Preface xi
Chapter 1 The Wall Has Fallen 1
Chapter 2 Power and Influence in the Global System 15
Chapter 3 Europe and Agenda Setting 51
Chapter 4 China and Custodial Economic Management 83
Chapter 5 America and Security Sponsorship 131
Chapter 6 The Future of International Relations 171
Index 185

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