(Foreign Policy Research Institute) As Joe Biden takes office, many people are optimistic that he can restore international confidence in the United States and return America to its proper place as a global leader. But that may not be possible. In our book Exit from Hegemony we argue that the era of American global hegemony is over and that the international order built by Washington in the immediate post-Cold War era has eroded significantly. It has been replaced by an emerging order that is more contested and multipolar. While U.S. President Trump helped to accelerate some of these dynamics, these pathways of change predated his tenure and will only continue to accelerate during the Biden Administration.
We identify three distinct pathways of hegemonic unraveling, all well underway, what we refer to as the rise of revisionist challengers (“Exit from Above”), the role of weaker states in soliciting alternative patrons (“Exit from Below”) and the increasing contestation in transnational networks between liberal and illiberal ideas and norms (“Exit from Within”).
These changes in international ordering are rooted in a current power transition, as power, especially economic power, is diffusing from what was considered the global transatlantic core to the Global South. This power transition has shattered what, in the 1990s, was commonly viewed as a monopoly on resources and goods enjoyed by the US and its allies in global governance. But it has also fueled new revisionist ideas, norms and practices about what a post-U.S. international order should look like and function. […]
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Co-author: Daniel Nexon