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The World America Made [Kindle Edition]

Robert Kagan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home? And is America really in decline? Robert Kagan, New York Times best-selling author and one of the country’s most influential strategic thinkers, paints a vivid, alarming picture of what the world might look like if the United States were truly to let its influence wane.
Although Kagan asserts that much of the current pessimism is misplaced, he warns that if America were indeed to commit “preemptive superpower suicide,” the world would see the return of war among rising nations as they jostle for power; the retreat of democracy around the world as Vladimir Putin’s Russia and authoritarian China acquire more clout; and the weakening of the global free-market economy, which the United States created and has supported for more than sixty years. We’ve seen this before—in the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I.
Potent, incisive, and engaging, The World America Made is a reminder that the American world order is worth preserving, and America dare not decline.

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Editorial Reviews


“At once a robust defense of the role America plays in world affairs and a determined rejection of the ‘myth’ that America is in decline.”
Financial Times 
“Kagan’s writing bristles with insights and ideas.”
Foreign Affairs

“An extended and convincing argument against the thesis that there is anything inevitable about American decline.”
“Accessible, thought-provoking and extraordinary. . . . Robert Kagan has both the foreign policy credentials and political street cred to know from whence he speaks. . . . A book about such a grand topic as global strategy runs two risks. First is making definitive assertions in the face of enormous complexity. . . . The second is imparting too much meaning from historical events. . . . However, Mr. Kagan avoids both traps. He skillfully reasons from a wide breadth of compelling facts that from the end of World War II to today, for better (he believes) or worse, and often with great ambivalence, America has raised the living standards of the world while helping democracy grow and flourish and the democratic world should and will likely want to keep it that way.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“The book makes the case that the nation’s decline is a myth, a reaction to the financial crisis of 2008 rather than to any genuine geopolitical shifts.”
The New York Times

“These ideas struck a chord with a President accused of leading a great American retreat.”

“Kagan grabs the reader’s attention from page one. . . . Kagan makes a powerful point: If America were to make a serious effort to disengage in world affairs, the world quickly would devolve into a much more scary and dangerous place.”
The Augusta Chronicle

“[Kagan] seems to care less about partisanship than about ideas, particularly his advocacy for a powerful American role in the world. . . . The virtue of Kagan’s book is that his ideas and logic are so clearly laid out that readers can see where they agree or disagree.”
The Washington Post

“Kagan paints with a broad brush, sprinkling a memorable metaphor here, a striking simile there . . . He provides a compelling demonstration that whether it’s protecting the sea lanes vital for free trade or nudging societies toward democracy, the world stands a better chance with America in prime position than with China or Russia in the lead.”
The New York Times Book Review

“[Marco] Rubio’s foreign-policy views have evidently been recently shaped by a reading of Robert Kagan’s The World America Made, a much-discussed refutation of the now-popular notion of American decline. As a Romney advisor who has penned bedside reading for President Barack Obama, Kagan could plausibly claim to be the most prominently cited writer in Washington right now.”
Foreign Policy Magazine

“Intelligent, cogent, and timely.”
Publishers Weekly

“Serious, scholarly . . . [These are] ideas expressed clearly and consicely.”
—David Ignatius, Washington Post Writers Group

“The foreign policy blueprint for the next Republican president.”
—Senator Marco Rubio

“Kagan grabs the reader’s attention from page one . . . He makes a powerful point: If America were to make a serious effort to disengage in world affairs, the world quickly would devolve into a much more scary and dangerous place . . . If you have time to read just one book, I suggest Kagan’s.”
—Major General Perry Smith

“Magisterial . . . It’s a small book, it’s a great book.”
—Bill Bennett

“Very important . . . A wonderful book.”
—Hugh Hewitt

“A must-read.”
—Lou Dobbs

About the Author

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a columnist for The Washington Post. He is also the author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams, Dangerous Nation, Of Paradise and Power, and A Twilight Struggle. He served in the U.S. State Department from 1984 to 1988. He lives with his wife and two children.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Kagan's major argument is that all the talk of American decline shows little knowledge and perspective in regard to the various historical situations and realities the United States has been through. `Decline' as he sees it is not an inevitability but a choice and one great danger is that accepting the conventional wisdom regarding America's alleged decline will help promote it.
To argue against inevitable U.S. decline Kagan assesses the present situation of the United States and defines it in a different way from most other commentators. He maintains that the United States still has one- quarter of the world`s GDP- the same figure that it has had over the past three decades. The single great unusual point was after World War Two where it had fifty percent of the world product. Kagan notes that the U.S decline is often compared with the British Empire decline though late nineteeth and early twentieth century Britain had a rapid fall in share of global GDP of a kind the U.S. has never known.
On the military front Kagan argues that the U.S. remains far superior to any potential rival. He notes that it ,contrary to common opinion, has a far smaller percentage of its population serving overseas than it did in the sixties and seventies. He points out that the U.S. has a far superior array of military technologies than any potential rival. This military superiority is vital to the U.S. being the key provider in a more secure and prosperous world. i.e. Kagan's argument is not only that U.S. power is not in decline, it is that U.S. power is beneficial to the peoples of the world, and in fact makes the world- system operate in a far better way than it would were any other power to be its leader. In this Kagan clearly suggests that those who preach U.S.
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37 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The big picture February 13, 2012
Verified Purchase
Some people think the United States spends far too much on its armed forces out of a misguided desire to be the world's policeman. Spend half as much, eliminate most of the foreign bases, bring our troops home. And guess what - other nations will pick up the slack and life will go on. Meanwhile, we can do some "nation building" in this country.

This book by a senior analyst at the Brookings Institution paints a different picture. In Robert Kagan's view, US preeminence since the breakup of the USSR has been a good thing for both our country and the world. Among the benefits: continued freedom from major wars, a trend towards democratic governments, and relatively free trade that contributes to global prosperity.

The idea that the US has already begun a decline is mistaken, says the author, and stem from two misperceptions. Aside from the situation immediately after World War II, the US never enjoyed as much power as some people now "remember." Also, recent disappointment with results of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and economic reverses have skewed perceptions of the longer-term situation. This country has encountered many setbacks over the years, as in the 1970s with the end of the War in Vietnam and the oil crisis, and come back stronger than ever.

Let there be no mistake, moreover, that the US could reduce its military forces and foster a multi-polar world without adverse consequences. History shows that any world order depends on the existence and if necessary use of military power; the leading nations will not voluntarily subordinate their ambitions to someone else's notion of the greater good. Likely results of US decline would be less democracy in the world, more barriers to trade, and far more risk of major wars.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A popular trope amongst authors is the "what if" scenario; a chance to speculate about a major shift in the world we know and what changes would come to pass as a result. While that seems a bit whimsical or silly "The World America Made" is anything but. Instead it is a speculative look at what the world would be like if America were to again become isolationist and retrench from the world's stage to focus on resolving our own domestic problems. More broadly Kagan looks at the question of whether America is genuinely in decline or if this is an echo of past fretting about America's perception that it is diminished in a globalized world. "The World America Made" is by turns intriguing, frustrating, frightening, and disturbing, pointing to how essential America's role in the modern world has been and can continue to be. Kagan wants to give readers a vision of what the world would be like without America as the sole remaining superpower and the result is a bit of "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life" to use to pop culture touchstones. This already seems to be playing out in parts of the world and is likely something that would accelerate as America withdraws from the world. Indeed, the future without America that Kagan views is a return to numerous small scale wars amongst rising nations jockeying for their position in the vacuum created by the USA withdrawing, something not necessarily too far fetched, but not an appetizing view of the future. I found myself thinking of the negativity "Economic Imperialism" carries with it, yet the reality is that globalism by any other name still created new dynamic markets that spurred competition, albeit with unfortunate consequences. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good Book
Published 17 days ago by Robert G. Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars A cogent and incisive argument liberal internationalists
Here Kagan shoots down the oft-quoted sentiments of American declinists as short-sighted and grounded in historical illusion. He provides a compelling case for why the U.S. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Zach
4.0 out of 5 stars Short But Excellent Overview of American Policy
While this book is short it is pithy. No need for a lot of words to explain a position and give examples for thought. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alan Dale Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars American Pax !!!
Kagan makes an interesting argument. He views US dominance in the post World War II period as a stabilizing and overall positive historical force- within the limits of human... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jose Gomez-Rivera
5.0 out of 5 stars The World AMERICA Made
Excellent glimpse of a world in which the US might no longer be the most influential, respected, feared or powerful nation.
Published 9 months ago by Michael Mandig
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Interesting to see where we have been a possible futures that are yet to come, is America really I. Decline and democracy losing?
Published 10 months ago by Benjamin Ra
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
This was very informative and helped bring together my understanding of historic, economic, military and current events that the US are involved with. Read more
Published 10 months ago by sunny
4.0 out of 5 stars What would world be like without America?
This contains strategy and world prognosis as America declines in power, influence and living standard. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Gderf
5.0 out of 5 stars and how all our work can be undone
Kagan does a good job explaining how the US has spread its inflence over the globe. It makes a patriot proud, until Kagan makes the argument that our decline will undo all the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by K Golimowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice
ill recommend this its a great read and a very important about the country that in a few words shape todays world
Published 15 months ago by Eduardo
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