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Is the American Century Over (Global Futures) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0745690070
ISBN-10: 0745690076
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Editorial Reviews


"A professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and one of the most esteemed analysts of world affairs, Nye has been countering declinism for a quarter century, beginning with his 1990 book Bound to Lead. The brevity of his latest text belies its sweep, and judging by the reception it has received, even among those who are considerably less optimistic about America's prospects...one suspects it will endure as a central text of the anti-declinist oeuvre."
Ali Wyne, American Interest

"In his clear, short, and closely reasoned book, Nye presents a far different view of American power, making some unfashionable but compelling arguments. Nye believes that the American century is far from over and that for the foreseeable future, the United States will retain a unique ability to shape global events."
? Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs

"Nye outlines each issue briskly, with economy and precision, creating an ideal primer for anyone wishing to better understand the global stage and where America stands on it."
?LA Review of Books

"Nye does the great service of examining this claim in his new book, Is the American Century Over?, giving a subtle analysis in terms of hard power (military and economic) and soft power (a concept introduced by Nye to refer to an attractive practice, at least a model or ideals such as liberty or democracy)."
?Huffington Post

?Is the American Century Over?? is an excellent book that will help students of international affairs think carefully about the world and America?s opportunities and challenges in the 21st century. It?s brief, succinct and provocative."
?The Washington Diplomat

"Academics and political junkies will probably breeze through Is the American Century Over? But the book is so well-written and accessible, general readers are likely to find it engaging and insightful as well. At its core, policy-oriented research and writing should strive to inform not just specialists or experts, but the public at large, making Nye's contribution to debates about America's purported decline that much more important."
?Huffington Post

?This short, well-argued book offers a powerful rebuttal to America's premature obituarists.?
?The Economist

?A pioneer in the theory of soft power and the dean of American political scientists, Nye knows geopolitics. In his new book, Is the American Century Over?, Nye makes a strong case that American geopolitical superiority, far from being eclipsed, is still firmly in place and set to endure. And the biggest threat isn?t China or India or Russia?it's America itself.?

?In this short, thoughtful book, Nye presents his case convincingly. It is a case that policy makers should ponder carefully.?
?Huffington Post

?The United States will likely remain the world's predominant power for many decades to come, Joe Nye concludes in his insightful new book. This welcome prediction is tempered by Nye?s warning about key challenges that could yet lead to American decline, most notably, political dysfunction at home.?
?The Boston Globe

?US declinism can be overdone. In an excellent new essay asking Is the American Century Over? the Harvard scholar Joseph Nye points up America's enduring strengths ? economic, demographic and geographic as well as military.?
?Financial Times

"With his usual clarity and insight, Joe Nye gives us a fascinating analysis of the complexities of power, exploring hard and soft power, state and non-state actors, and how to retain leadership once domination is over. European readers have much to learn from the U.S. experience and its lessons for the evolution of the EU."
?Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy (2011?13) and President of Bocconi University

"The future of American power is the great question of our century. No-one is better equipped than Joe Nye to answer it."
?Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.), former Presidential National Security Advisor

"This calm, reflective, and thoughtful antidote to alarm about American decline displays Nye's astonishing capacity to engage with the full range of challenges to American leadership."
?Michael Ignatieff, Harvard Kennedy School

"In this timely, compact book, Joe Nye makes a 'powerful' case for the continuation of American primacy through diplomacy and co-operation. This strategy would not be overstretch or retrenchment but instead the application of American Exceptionalism to shrewd power."
?Robert B. Zoellick, former President of the World Bank Group, US Trade Representative and US Deputy Secretary of State

"The irreversibility of American decline is no longer a given. Joe Nye's compelling analysis shows that the future of the international order, and the respective roles of the US and China within it, will be shaped by a range of core domestic and foreign policy choices, rather than by some overwhelming, determinist, historical force that has somehow already decided the "natural" dimensions, depth and duration of American power. The history of nations, as Joe Nye rightly asserts, is a more dynamic process than that."
?Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia

"Joe Nye is always worth reading - objective without being aloof, insightful without lecturing. Our disordered world needs answers to the challenges posed here."
?David Miliband, UK Foreign Secretary 2007-2010

"Nye's masterful analysis shows the defenders of America's continued primacy how to make their most credible case while forcing the declinists to engage with its arguments, and even rethink their assumptions."
?Amitav Acharya, American University and author of The End of American World Order

"In this tour de force Joe Nye proves that smart books about big ideas are best served in small packages: and if you are looking for one volume to read on a topic about which so much nonsense has been written since the disaster that was the Bush administration, this is the one to go for. Balanced, accessible, informed - but above all, wise - Nye demonstrates once more why he continues to influence the way we all think about the world."
?Michael Cox, LSE IDEAS

"Joe Nye's clear-eyed analysis makes a very compelling case that the 'American century' is far from over, even though with a less preponderant America and a more complex world, its next chapter will look different. It?s not the sexiest argument. But utterly convincing."
?Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference and former German Ambassador to the United States

"Joe Nye's clear eyed assessments of America's place in the world have set the terms of the debate for more than a quarter century. This important book updates Nye's thinking and is an immensely valuable corrective to the pessimism and the complacency that are all too common in debates about America's future."
?Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University

"As Joseph S. Nye, Jr. brilliantly articulates, there are numerous challenges and challengers which will push the United States as the premier nation in the world over the next few decades. Bringing an objective, critical analysis and years of experience in economics and politics, Nye's Is the American Century Over? is both a cautionary tale for the patriotic and a celebration of emerging nations.?
?Nomadic Press

About the Author

Joseph S.Nye, Jr.  is University Distinguished Service Professor and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Product Details

  • Series: Global Futures
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (January 20, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745690076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745690070
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book. Mercifully short. Provides cogent argument that the US is not declining in influence vis-a-vis Russia, China, Europe, Brazil, and is likely to remain the world's most powerful nation for the next few decades and probably more. A refreshing alternative to the pervasive American "decline-ism" that periodically sweeps across our army of tongue-wagging media commentators. A book everyone worried about the future of the United States should read.
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Nye's analysis lacks depth, but his end of chapter references are a treasure trove of "reading list." Read the book and then go to his references for more depth.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a political science student when I read the title Is the American Century Over I groan because it seems like a new Chicken Little “sky is falling” type book is published every day where the United States of America meets a horrible end due to political and ideological divisions, some transnational threat be it ISIS, climate change, cyber security, or a rising China. I found Joseph Nye’s Is the American Century Over a refreshing change of pace from the doom and gloom that comes with the political science territory.

Nye argues that the United States economic, military, and soft power is not on the wane both currently and compared to other times in the last seventy years or so. The US enjoys large advantages in these areas compared to other potential challengers: Europe, China, India, Russia, and Brazil.

Yet Nye does not claim that American hegemony is without the potential for failure. The continuation of the American Century relies upon political leaders making “smart decisions” which is far from a certainty given that leaders can be derailed by pride, legacy, ideology and the need to win the next election among other things.

There seems to be a further question which Nye sort of hints at: Is Hegemony Overrated? Considering that “new threats” such as cyber security, climate change, and infectious disease are not amenable to a military solution and that even in an era of one hegemonic power, the hegemon does not get everything it wants, I feel like the question needs to be asked “Is Hegemony Something that the US Should Expect or Desire?

A thought provoking read sure to add to the academic debate over America’s place in the post-Cold War World.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nye views power through three lenses: military, economic, and soft. Using these dimensions and a clear view of the past century of world events, he demonstrates that at no time was American dominant in the sense it could get anything it wanted. America’s military is large, its economic force still important (especially in light of the dollar as the standard currency), and its soft power weakening. He refers to these three dimensions like three-dimensional chess, with the military at the top, economics in the middle, and soft power on the bottom. But since technology and the rise of NGOs, soft power is coming perhaps more strongly from citizen’s and invested groups, rather than governments.

He rattles the cages of those who have ideological axes to grind when they promote a variety of "American Century" views. I especially appreciated that he counter those views with clear information, rather than vitriol.

Of course the overview stimulated a deeper dive reaction and if the book had attempted that the resulting length likely would have daunted too many readers. However, as an author and reader, I believe the price point of the book is a tad high given overview nature.

The book leaves you with optimism for the future of America’s course and next century of recourse.
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Joseph Nye does paint an optimistic future of the United States as a world power, amid all the gloom and doom of its much talked about decline. He also points out America’s present day problems, but in a way that they are not as bad as they seem, especially when compared to other countries. Other countries either have the same problems as we, sometimes worse, or problems we don’t have that can be their pitfalls. Nye, however, does point out that the U.S. itself needs to deal with its present problems, or it will decline, so the picture is rosy, but not that rosy.
The book starts with when the American Century began. It either began in 1914, at the beginning of World War I, or in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bomb, leading our entry into World War II, and discusses briefly on each date, including our isolation between the wars, and how we finally came to the forefront to stay.
We are often compared to the British, comparing them to other empires of the day, and how they took the lead. It is interesting to note that they had their empire for two centuries, rising to the peak after losing the American colonies. What brought their empire down was competition with Germany and the U.S. in industries, not the military, especially in the production of steel. Britain would not change with the rest of the world in modern technology, and that is an ingredient for the downfall of any society. The two world wars were the nails in their coffin.
What is really shown here is a chapter comparing the present state of the U.S. to other countries supposedly of the rise: Europe, Japan, India, Russia, Brazil, and especially China, America’s newest competitor and threat. Japan, back in the 1980s, was thought to replace the U.S.
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