The Waning of US Hegemony-Myth or Reality? A Review Essay Academic Article uri icon


  • Over the next two decades, international politics will be shaped by whether the international system remains unipolar or is transformed into a multipolar system. Can the United States sustain its primacy? Or will the emergence of new great powers reorder the distribution of power in the international system? If U.S. power is waning, will power transition dynamics result in security competitions and an increased possibility of war? In particular, what are the implications of China's rapid ascent to great power status? If the United States is unable to preserve its hegemonic role, what will happen to the security and economic frameworks that it took the lead in creating after the end of World War II and that have provided the foundation for the international order ever since? In a world no longer defined by U.S. hegemony, what would become of globalization and the open international economic system that the United established after World War II and expanded after the Cold War ended? This essay reviews five publications that grapple with these questions: Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy; Parag Khanna, The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order; Kishore Mahbubani, The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East; National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World; and Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Layne, C.

citation count

  • 70

complete list of authors

  • Layne, Christopher

publication date

  • January 2009