The first, by Parag Khanna, declares that American hegemony is in its last throes.
At best, America’s unipolar moment lasted through the 1990s, but that was also a decade adrift. The post-cold-war “peace dividend” was never converted into a global liberal order under American leadership. So now, rather than bestriding the globe, we are competing — and losing — in a geopolitical marketplace alongside the world’s other superpowers: the European Union and China. This is geopolitics in the 21st century: the new Big Three. Not Russia, an increasingly depopulated expanse run by Gazprom.gov; not an incoherent Islam embroiled in internal wars; and not India, lagging decades behind China in both development and strategic appetite. The Big Three make the rules — their own rules — without any one of them dominating. And the others are left to choose their suitors in this post-American world.Khanna, after analyzing the present situation, calls for a modest pragmatism as a stabilizing strategy for the future--no American exceptionalism, and no dreams of empire. The entire essay is well worth digesting.
Derek Chollet and Tod Lindberg, however, take a slightly different view. Though they also realize that unipolarity is not an option, they still want to preserve the "moral core" of American foreign policy.
Moving beyond the slogans, would a truly values-free foreign policy really secure U.S. interests, strengthen U.S. power, and draw the sustained support of the American people? We think not. American values are an indispensable component of the U.S. role in the world — they are a key part of what unites the United States to allies in Europe and elsewhere and distinguishes the United States from countries like China. Instead of dividing conservatives and liberals, American values in foreign policy can in fact translate into a moral core that both sides can rally around. In the current political environment, as we approach the first post -9/11, post-Bush election, building such a policy bridge will be difficult. But given the stakes, it is imperative.How this plays out in practice is outlined in the rest of the essay. Again, worth reading for insight, ideas, and blocks.