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American Power and the Prospects for International Order

American Power and the Prospects for International Order

Simon Bromley

ISBN: 978-0-745-64238-3 August 2008 Polity 288 Pages


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The turn of the century has seen the US greatly enhance its military supremacy across the world. It has also played a key role in shaping the international economic order. More recently, however, its world-wide economic domination has started to diminish as other regions and countries have become globally important players.

Simon Bromley brings a fresh perspective to these issues, arguing that it is as yet unclear whether the US will be capable of rising to the challenges posed by the new world order. He carefully examines the intricacies of these debates including the American ideology of a liberal international order and the relation of this to the Bush doctrine; US power in the transatlantic arena and US-European integration in relation to the EU and NATO; and the geo-politics of oil. He looks at a range of challenges to US dominance, including the weakening of the dollar; the rapid growth and industrialization of Asia; and the strengths and weaknesses of Bush's foreign policy.

This book is set to spark debate amongst students and scholars of international politics, as well as appealing to anyone interested in the changing shape of the international order.

List of Tables and Figures vii

Preface viii

Introduction: The American Project for a Liberal International Order 1

1 The American Ideology: Modernization Theory and the Neo-Conservatives 8

Introduction 8

What Was Modernization Theory? 10

Containment and ‘Development’ 14

Modernization Theory and World Order 20

Modernity Is Not the ‘End of History’ 31

Modernization Theory, the Neo-Conservatives and the Bush Doctrine 37

Conclusions 50

2 America's Transatlantic Empire: Where in the World Is America? 52

Introduction 52

The American Empire 54

Imperialism 61

Anarchy, Rivalry and Interdependence 66

US Power and the Liberal Capitalist International Order 82

Conclusions 97

3 American Oil, World Oil: Resources, Confl icts, Control and Scarcity 101

Introduction 101

Reasons for War? 103

America's Oil, World Oil 106

OPEC and World Oil 115

The United States and Middle East Oil 118

Reshaping the Greater Middle East 122

The Role of Oil in the New Middle East Strategy 135

Carry on Driving? 143

Conclusions 148

4 American Power, the Future of the Dollar and the Challenge of China 149

Introduction 149

International Money 151

From Fixed to Floating Exchange Rates 160

Resurgent Asia 173

Containing China? 185

Conclusions 199

Conclusion: The Prospects for a Liberal International Order 202

Notes 211

Bibliography 226

Name Index 237

Subject Index 240

"A well-researched, multifaceted and insightful analysis of the sources and challenges to US supremacy. Particularly impressive is the way in which Bromley is able to explain complex economic theory in relatively easily understood terms, and at times to bridge the gap between economic and security based analyses of US power and international order in general."
Australian Journal of Political Science

"Walt Rostow's theory of modernization, in Bromley's view, supplemented the requirement of containing Soviet military power with the need to 'create forms of coordinated economic interdependence, based on the replication of the American model of capitalism in the rest of the capitalist world, from which many states could derive positive benefit'. Bromley elucidates this argument in an excellent first chapter and goes on to demonstrate how the neo-conservative foreign policy agenda both builds on this foundation and departs from it."
Political Studies Quarterly

"This is a good book and should be recommended in particular to those who think they already know everything about American foreign relations."
Times Higher Education

"Simon Bromley is one of the most knowledgeable, astute and sober analysts of the role of oil in the making of the American empire. This new book confirms this amidst a broader examination of the American strategy and ideology from the post-war era up to today."
Leo Panitch, York University, Toronto

"Simon Bromley has written an exceptional book, remarkable for its many insights, and the lucidity and balance of its judgements on the role the United States plays in the world and the complex nature of its power. Avoiding the oversimplifications and caricatures which bedevil this field, Bromley offers a compelling account of the enduring dilemmas which have shaped American policy towards the international order and the current challenges it faces. This book should be read by everyone interested in understanding contemporary world politics."
Andrew Gamble, University of Cambridge

"Simon Bromley has crafted an excellent and thought-provoking study of American power. He presents a robust defence of an American-led liberal international order that will need to be taken into account by all other writers on the subject. His argument that the US is a revolutionary power seeking to mould the world into its own image because of its declining economic power is a challenging one. Summing up and defending a liberal thesis, Bromley does something unusual (at least for a European scholar): he defends American power. Bromley's study should be widely read by political scientists, political economists, political historians, and international relations scholars and students."
Inderjeet Parmar, University of Manchester

  • Original and provocative account of the challenges to US world dominance of the international order

  • Written by a leading figure in international politics who is well respected for his work in this area

  • Covers difficult analytical ground, but remains clear and accessible throughout

  • Examines challenges to US dominance including the weakening of the dollar; the rapid growth and industrialization of Asia, especially China; and the strengths and weaknesses of Bush’s foreign policy

  • this book is set to spark debate amongst students and scholars of international politics