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Think You Know Iran?

World Policy Journal's Ben Pauker gets on The Daily Show (see 3:45) and makes America look good in the process. Read more

THE INDEX — June 15, 2009

A leader of the

Kenneth Weisbrode: Why Foreign Policy Slogans Matter

So much has been written about the decline of American power that the adherents to the idea keep turning to new ways to describe the phenomenon. Now, it is not the case that America is declining, per se, but that other powers are rising. This variation may be true, whatever the political reality is on the ground. The ways by which so-called declinism affect the collective mindset is another matter. Already we see the emergence of a more subtle and broad-minded American approach to global issues. Some would say this is a consequence of an America in decline or in the words of Dick Cheney—a finite, "existential" power. That is—so far as power goes—use it or lose it. In truth, the opposite tends to be the case. When a nation relies on its existing power to get its way, that power strengthens in direct proportion to the extent to which it is not used, or at least not used badly. Weakening or insecure powers, like Wilhelmine Germany or the United States of the late 1960s and early 1970s, tend to crave the appearance of power for its own sake while becoming badly demoralized in the process. Today, we measure power at face value for what it is without much reference to abstractions. In retrospect, abstractions—like Francis Fukuyama's case for the end of history (one that he now claims only made sense at the time)—would seem to be a luxury of what the French blithely called a "hyperpower," or a hegemon.



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Al Gore presides over Arctic Roundtable 

As the United States prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, this inaugural convening of the Arctic Deeply Roundtables launches a vital conversation for our times. 


When the Senate Worked for Us:
New book offers untold stories of how activist staffers countered corporate lobbies in the U.S.

MA in International Policy and Development
Middlebury Institute (Monterey, CA): Put theory into practice through client-based coursework. Apply by Feb. 1.

Millennium Project’s State of the Future 19.0: Collective Intelligence on the Future of the World


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