Hall Gardner, American Global Strategy and the "War on Terrorism" (Hampshire, UK: Ashgate, 2005), 239 pp., £45.
Robert J. Lieber, The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 267 pp., $28.
Ralph Peters, New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy (New York: Sentinel, 2005), 292 pp., $24.95.
Stephen M. Walt, Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), 320 pp., $27.95.
AFTER THE collapse of the Soviet Union, some observers were quick to recognize a "unipolar moment" of unprecedented American power and influence. Others were just as quick to predict that the moment would be short lived, with the extraordinary relative status of the U.S. triggering a movement to counter-balance it that would result in the rapid emergence of a multipolar international system. A decade and a half later, despite the wide resentment that American foreign policies-including some quite unnecessary missteps-have engendered abroad, the countervailing trend against the world's predominant power that traditional balance of power theorists had been predicting has yet to occur.
Notwithstanding the heavy toll that the interrelated challenges of terrorism, the war in Iraq and nuclear proliferation (to say nothing of maladroit public diplomacy) have exacted on its global standing, America will for some time to come continue to occupy its paramount position in the international system because of what Barry Posen of MIT has called the "command of the commons"-command of sea, space and air. What remains to be settled, however, is what the United States does with this primacy.