The World's ResentmentIssue: Summer 2000
CHARLES Krauthammer was one of the first to speak of the "unipolar moment" -- the extraordinary global predominance that the United States suddenly acquired when Soviet power collapsed. He wrote in 1990, when the USSR still existed. But Krauthammer chose the word "moment" wisely. He did not doubt that in this instance, as so often before in history, predominance would give rise to challenge, and that therefore its duration could not be predicted.
He did not have long to wait. Well before that decade was out, challenges began to appear. The unipolar moment that Americans so enjoy is not, it seems, so universally celebrated elsewhere. Most of the world's other major powers -- even our friends -- have made it a central theme of their foreign policies to build counterweights to American power. In fact, their efforts in this direction constitute one of the main trends in international politics today.