Why Anglos Lead

It's no accident of history that Anglo societies dominate the world order.

Issue: Winter 2005-2006

OVER THE last few years, due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many commentators have discerned the emergence of a new American empire. Some critics blame the Bush Administration, arguing that, but for Bush, there would be no crisis over American "unilateralism" or "hegemony." Others blame the end of the Cold War for "unleashing" America on the world.

Actually, American pre-eminence extends much further back--to World War II or before. It really continues a British primacy that dated back at least to 1815. During the 20th century, Germany, Japan and Soviet Russia challenged the Anglo ascendancy, but they were turned back. So today the world order bears a remarkable resemblance to the late Victorian era. Now as then, the world is globalizing, and English is its lingua franca. The United States has merely supplanted Britain as the leading power.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!