AMERICA IS in unprecedented decline. The self-inflicted wounds of the Iraq War, growing government debt, increasingly negative current-account balances and other internal economic weaknesses have cost the United States real power in today's world of rapidly spreading knowledge and technology. If present trends continue, we will look back at the Bush administration years as the death knell for American hegemony.
Since the cold war, the United States has maintained a vast array of overseas commitments, seeking to ensure peace and stability not just in its own neighborhood-the Americas-but also in Europe and Asia, along with the oil-rich Persian Gulf (as well as other parts of the world). Simply maintaining these commitments requires enormous resources, but in recent years American leaders have pursued far more ambitious goals than merely maintaining the status quo. The Bush administration has not just continued America's traditional grand strategy, but pursued ambitious objectives in all three major regions at the same time-waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeking to denuclearize North Korea and expanding America's military allies in Europe up to the borders of Russia itself.