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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is America's Global Power really in Decline?
This election year has seen many authors fixated on the decline of America. With economic hard times and the shifting of the balance of power, America's global political dominance is declining in a world that is moving towards a more "multipolar" world or "No Ones's World", according to Charles Kupchan's book. In his words, his main thesis or Argument is "This book is the...
Published on March 28, 2012 by J. Kimbrough

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, good overview of current geopolitical scene
I wish the author had drawn a conclusion in a more daring way. This is a well written, very readable overview of current trends in world politics. Great if you haven't been keeping up. Otherwise, not much to be gained, as you will be left to draw your own conclusions about where it all goes, even for the near future.
Published 17 months ago by Laocoon143


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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is America's Global Power really in Decline?, March 28, 2012
By 
J. Kimbrough (Bavaria, Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Hardcover)
This election year has seen many authors fixated on the decline of America. With economic hard times and the shifting of the balance of power, America's global political dominance is declining in a world that is moving towards a more "multipolar" world or "No Ones's World", according to Charles Kupchan's book. In his words, his main thesis or Argument is "This book is the first to argue that the next world will be dominated by no country or region".

He continues throughout the rest of the chapters presenting his valid arguments and analysis. He explains the rise of the West and its global dominance at the end of WWII and how the "Western Way" "Bested the Rest". He turns next to the predicted (possible) future loss of power and a potential power vacuum in geopolitics. Further, he writes there is no alternative country or region that will ascend to a world which has been dominated by the United States and it is for the first time in history that the world will have no one global dominate force, but many. He discusses the rise of "new" powers in the world and as he believes the "Western way" is not being universalized (his words) with these new rising powers of China, India, and Brazil. Our ways are too different and were based on sociological & economic conditions unique to the US & Europe and does not fit the value systems of these new "rising" powers. He further says the end result will be a potential conflict on how the future world will be managed and how or what policies will be implemented.

In his final Chapter "Managing No one's World", he explains his view on how this new world will work, if it does at all. As he writes, "A Vision for adopting the international order to the coming global turn" and the US must take the lead in making a new consensus with new principles.

Of the books published I have read on America's decline whether economical, sociological or political, Mr. Kupchan takes a different outlook at the future of America in world politics, but his assumptions and conclusions are valid. America's power came when our economy was expanding, how will it fare in the future when it is in economic decline and the rest are expending? Or will a military arms race with China, who could possibly outspend us, be our downfall as was for the Soviet Union? These are valid questions for the future and starting points for how we can manage this future. For Mr. Kupchan, the next world will have no center of gravity, it will be no one's world.

Mr. Kupchan is currently a professor of international relations at Georgetown University and a former NSC White House member.

In addition Mr. Kupchan has written other fine books. This one I have also read: "The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century" by Charles Kupchan

Please also read the "The Economist" review for this book.(see comments for the link). They see the author predicting a much "darker" future. It is the reason why I purchased it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Knocks on the Door, April 11, 2012
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This review is from: No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Hardcover)
This treatise casts a view into the world's future and reveals a surprising number of troubling challenges. Beginning within the next two decades, a tectonic power shift from the West to several other countries is about to transpire with China being the most prominent beneficiary. The operating mechanism is twofold: on one hand there is the recent decline of the economic, financial and political performance of Europe and America and, on the other, the rapid catch-up of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This stark realization gives rise to a sobering soul searching as to the West's liabilities and failures, their origin, nature, and prognosis. In a clinically stringent survey, Charles Kupchan lists the tasks we must accomplish, if we want the transition to be an orderly, peaceful and beneficial process instead of permitting the family of nations to get disrupted in an anarchic, jealous, and destructive confrontation.

Among his almost 20 conclusions, here are four of them: 1. As the title of the book indicates, our present single superpower system will enter into a multi-power world lacking a solitary leader. 2. Each of the rising geographic regions will pursue its own way of modernization as determined by their cultural traditions. Few if any of them will adhere to liberal democracy and rather follow their accustomed autocracy systems. Thus, China will cling to its communal autocracy, Russia to its paternal autocracy, the Muslem region to its religious and tribal autocracy, and so on. 3. America will have to retrench its global ambitions to a formula commensurate with is diminishing means. 4. Among the globally acceptable fundamental principles that are to rule the future, the West must agree to the redefinition of regime legitimacy. That is to say, we must extend the concept of legitimacy to those regimes that govern responsibly, be they democratic or autocratic.

This is an eye opening exploration. It is mandatory reading for anyone among the world's leaders. In fact, for those who believe that human civilization has arrived at the point where mankind is ready to unite under global law and a global system of security, here indeed is a wealth of facts that support this concept and urges its implementation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Details and Conclusions, June 29, 2012
This review is from: No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Hardcover)
Author Kupchan disagrees with those believing democracy, capitalism, and nationalism will ensure that the West will continue to dominate the world. He believes this century will not 'belong' to America, China, Asia, the West, or anyone else.

His book begins by recounting the West's ascent to global preeminence between 1500 and 1800. The initial main driver was a product of its political weakness that allowed socioeconomic ferment in Europe. Merchants, intellectuals, and serfs challenged the monarchy, aristocracy, and the church. The Reformation set the stage for intellectual advances by exposing religion to rational inquiry. The growing costs of the modern state (eg. often involved in wars between one faction/nation and another) also forced monarchs to share power in order for the citizens to accept these new costs. Another benefit of the rising middle class was that it provided the economic and intellectual foundations for the Industrial Revolution, and that in turn helped bring improved education, conscription, etc.

More rigid hierarchical orders in the Ottoman Empire, India, China, and Japan held back their transformation. Self-imposed isolation in China and Japan also held those nations back. During the 18th century the development of ocean-going vessels with heavy guns enabled Europe to dominate. The eventual spread of the West's founding ideas was largely a product of its material dominance, not the universal appeal of those ideas. The fall of the Soviet Union also helped.

WWII brought an end to Europe's run as the globe's center of gravity - they'd been devastated by the war and U.S. forced decolonization. American believed they could use their power to order the world toward democratic capitalism - eg. Germany and Japan.

China's economy will pass America's within the current decade, possibly sooner, while Islam is now strengthening its hold on politics in many areas. Neither share Western values. In 2010, four of the top five economies were part of the West; by 2050 only the U.S. will be part of the group, and about half the size of China's economy. In 1978, 12% of all PhDs awarded in the U.S. went to foreign students; by 2008 this had risen to 33%, with 60% in engineering and 48% in the sciences. China now leads the world in steel production, as does Asia in shipbuilding. Kupchan still sees America's Navy as a formidable force, but he doesn't consider new asymmetric warfare capabilities such as supersonic missiles, cheap high-speed torpedo boats, etc. Support for scientific research has recently lured back some 200,000 scientists trained abroad.

Today's rising powers are each following unique paths toward modernity based on their own political, demographic, and socioeconomic conditions. China and Russia have communitarian and paternalistic cultures that sharply contrast with the West. China's traders, artisans, and professionals no longer need to escape the state to realize their potential - its government works to help them and includes them within the CCP - thus co-opting them into supporting the state. About 40% of college professors and administrators belong to the CCP (and China is doubling that sector), over 1/3 of entrepreneurs have become party members, the CCP appoints about 80% of SOE managers (create 40% of its GDP).

Kupchan sees regulated markets and planned economies as having advantages over Western alternatives in today's fast-evolving world; this was demonstrated by China's far better performance in the Great Recession created in the U.S. China was helped by its high savings rate, central planning, and large surpluses. The West was hobbled by an inadequate regulatory framework, vested interests, polarized/disaffected voters, and the influence of political donations in the U.S.

Deng Xiaoping: "The Western style of checks and balances must never be practiced. Efficiency must be guaranteed.' Mao's rule had brought ideological excesses and a cult of personality. Since then, however, China's government is no longer on an ideological crusade - it is pragmatic and shrewd with a remarkable record of leadership competence.

China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Turkey frequently break with America's leadership. Less than one-fourth of Russians believe their nation needs Western-style government - their experiences during the 1990s led many to equate democracy with corruption, chaos, and economic decline.

About two-thirds of Egypt's population want civil law to strictly adhere to the Koran. The Arab Spring is expanding Islam's influence on government.

India's growth rates have been only about half China's. Kupchan sees that as due to its democratic institutions being even more unwieldy by its ethnic and linguistic diversity. Resource allocation depends less on efficiency than spreading benefits over competing constituencies.

I particularly liked the author's point about the U.S. needing to moderate its 'marketing' of democracy. He says that we should evaluate other nations on whether they have responsible governance, not liberal democracy. ('Responsible governance' was defined as being dedicated to improving the lives of its citizens and enabling them to pursue their aspirations.) Other nations' have differing values and backgrounds - much of Asia, as well as Russia, value a more communitarian and authoritative government. Moving too fast towards democracy can produce civil war, economic disaster (eg. Russia). Foreign policy should be evaluated via whether the nation safeguards the welfare of its citizens and refrains from compromising the security of other states - eg. aggression, exporting WMD, sponsoring terrorism.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, good overview of current geopolitical scene, July 5, 2013
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This review is from: No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Hardcover)
I wish the author had drawn a conclusion in a more daring way. This is a well written, very readable overview of current trends in world politics. Great if you haven't been keeping up. Otherwise, not much to be gained, as you will be left to draw your own conclusions about where it all goes, even for the near future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No One's World: The balance of political and economic powers, March 25, 2014
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The true reflection of the current trend in the distribution of political and economic powers of the world. A brief history in the shift of political and economic powers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, March 3, 2014
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Insightful and a great perspective on future foreign policy. Fresh perspective with well rationalized arguments. All should read to get another perspective.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok book about US foreign policy, January 30, 2014
Kupchan has written a book for popular audiences on the current challenges to U.S. foreign policy stemming from the growing influence of governments outside the traditional circle of Western great powers. It is an intellectually ambitious book in that the first three chapters attempt to synthesize a variety of ideas about the differences between the democratic industrialized nations of the West and the nations that arose in the wake of the breakup of the Ottoman empire. He enunciates an interesting but perhaps not compelling theory about the role of Protestants vs. Catholics in the West and Shiites vs. Sunnis in the Ottoman world in the second and third chapters. The rest of the book is devoted to a description of the rise of the so-called BRICs and suggestions for how to think about a world in which it will not be possible to rely on the imposition of Western values on everyone else to forge a new world order.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars which brand of capitalism is changing the world?, December 31, 2012
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This review is from: No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (Hardcover)
It is undoubtful that the world is heading towards multipolarity as described by Kupchan. His arguments and conclusions are cogent. Political diversity is the fact of life. However, I do not agree with Kupchan that state capitalism as practised by the autocrats is superior to the market capitalism in terms of its ability to deliver well-beings to their citizens. In the long run, economic development depends much on the wisdom and efforts of the private entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, if the autocratic regimes become too predatory, their economies may stop to grow. By that time, the international order is about to take another turn.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One helluva roller coaster ride in no one's world, October 1, 2012
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Kupchan has written a fascinating book about the new world order defined by the rise of the "restners". An excellent addition to Parag Khanna's Second World, Niall Ferguson's Civilization, and Kishore Mahbubani's New Asian Hemisphere. No One's World is probably one of the best books that paints in broad strokes the beginnings of Western dominance during the Reformation, the subsequent spread of Western values beyond the Atlantic democracies as well as a lucid discussion of the limits of West models in a multi-civilizational world and why the rising rest today do not anymore seek to emulate the once unquestionable Western paradigm for global progress.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've ever read., January 28, 2013
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Very enjoyable read. Easy to digest. Can't wait until the next is released. No One's World: the west and the rising rest, and the coming global turn. I give it 5 out of 5.
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No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn
No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn by Charles A. Kupchan (Hardcover - March 1, 2012)
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