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After the Unipolar Moment
Reconciling the US and the World

“After the Unipolar Moment—Reconciling the US and the World” is a collaborative inquiry by the Stanley Foundation in tandem with the International Institute for Strategic Studies examining how the United States can resume constructive and supportive leadership in the international system. 

One of the defining characteristics of the current international order is the dominant position of the United States, which wields a power that is without historic precedent. Yet the rapid pace of change and growing complexity of the world has undercut US influence—its ability to bring about the outcomes it seeks. In other words, the life of a superpower isn’t what it used to be, and because so many different actors and factors hold sway in the contemporary world, there is no going back.

Hence the United States should not assume it can resume a command role simply by reversing recent policies, if indeed it ever had such a degree of control. The United States may be able to boost its influence, but it won’t be a simple matter. The US remains a potential source of key “global public goods,” but the superpower must provide goods that the rest of the world wants and needs, and it will have to reach new understandings with the others about roles and responsibilities. Through its series of conferences, the After the Unipolar Moment project is sampling expert opinion on the demand and supply of public goods and the international security division of labor.

Summaries of the conferences, as well as the papers commissioned for discussion, are available here:

After the Unipolar Moment: Should the US Be a Status Quo or a Revolutionary Power?
Policy Dialogue Brief, February, 2007

Status Quo Power or Revolutionary Power: Can a Proper Balance Be Struck in U.S. Foreign Policy?
(138K, Word document)
A project working paper from Richard Kugler and Hans Binnendijk

The Pillar of the International System (116K, Word document)
A project working paper from Morton H. Halperin and Michael H. Fuchs

After the Unipolar Moment: The Fragility of World Order
Policy Dialogue Brief, March 2007

After the Unipolar Moment: Clarifying the Purposes of US Hard Power
April 2007

Force and Diplomacy (119K, Word document)
A project working paper from Robert S. Litwak

Beyond the War on Terrorism: A Military Strategy for Cooperative Leadership (180K, Word document)
A project working paper from Steven Metz

After the Unipolar Moment: Asia and Regional and Global Order
May 2007

Asian Security: The Demand for Hard Power Public Goods (76K, Word document)
A project working paper from C. Raja Mohan

Soft Power in the Asia Pacific (91K, Word document)
A project working paper from V.R. Raghavan

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