Preparing for the Twenty-First Century, by Paul Kennedy
Take a bit of Thomas Malthus (Essay on Population), add a dash of Robert Reich (The Work of Nations), spice with more than a touch of Al Gore (Earth in the Balance), and voilà! you have the historian Paul Kennedy’s latest delectation.
In his earlier best-seller, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987), Kennedy predicted that America, suffering from “imperial overstretch” in its efforts to compete with the Soviet Union, was doomed to decline, as had Spain, Great Britain, and other “overstretched” powers before it. Our principal task, he argued in that book, would be to manage our affairs so that the erosion in our world position “takes place slowly and smoothly.” In the event—but that is another story, best told, perhaps, in the future, after the remnants of the Soviet Union sort themselves out, most likely with substantial aid from a theoretically enfeebled America.
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