period of American pre-eminence in military, economic and soft power resources’; it is still neither over
nor have we entered into ‘a post-American world’ (p. 125). However, the author acknowledges that the
American century will not look like as it was in the twentieth century and suggested that the ‘United
States will need to make smart strategic choices both at home and abroad if it wishes to maintain its
position’ (pp. 126–127). Split into seven chapters, the book provides an in-depth analysis of the creation,
the challenges and the nature of the decline of the American century.
In the first chapter, about the creation of the American century, the author has rejected Micheal Lind’s
proposition that the American century started in 1914 and ended in 2014. In contrast, he believes that
since the economy, coercion and attraction (p. 3) play important role in the creation of the leadership,
therefore, 1941, when ‘the United States, without full control, had primacy in economic resources and
became a central actor in the global balance of power’ (p. 14) should be regarded as the beginning of the
To evaluate the relative decline of America, the third and fourth chapters concentrate on the emerging
powers and investigate their prospects of cooperation and conflict with/against the United States.
The third chapter has analysed Europe, Japan, Russia, India and Brazil and has found a mixed result.
Given its military capacity, revisionist vision and a possible alliance with China, Russia can challenge
American supremacy; however, the author found a Russia–China cooperation a distant dream because
both states are vying for influence in Central Asia, and ‘China has more to gain than Russia from
the status quo’ (p. 37).
As far as India is concerned, since the last couple of years, Indo-US relationship has been strengthen-
ing, but mutual suspicion persists in India–China relations. Therefore, ‘India is more likely to become
part of the group of Asian nations that will tend to balance China’ (p. 41). Given the US–Europe close
partnership in economy, trade and investment followed by shared values of democracy and human
rights, the author has concluded that the prospect of Europe ‘helping to cause the end of the American
century is very low’ (p. 28). Similarly, Japan and the United States’ interests are intertwined to the
extent that it seems unlikely that the former will help others to end the American century.
Though these states may pose a challenge to the American century, yet not to the extent of China
because the latter is relatively closer to America in economy, military and soft power. Moreover, China-
based patents are growing faster; military expenditure increased to double digits between 1989 and
2009, and today accounts for 11 per cent of the global defense budget; it is developing fifth generation
stealth fighter planes and aircraft carriers, and expanding its soft power in Africa and Latin America.
Consequently, in a poll, 15 respondents out of 22 states said that ‘China either will replace or has
already replaced the United States as the world’s leading power’ (p. 1). However, the author believes that
despite significant achievements, China will not be able to pose serious threat to the American century
because its military ‘lacks the alliances, overseas bases, long range logistics, and the expeditionary
experience of American force’ (p. 58). In addition to difference in ‘composition and sophistication’
(p. 49), their economies are intertwined to the extent that China ‘might bring America to its knees, but
at the cost of bringing itself to its ankles’ (p. 54).
In order to defend the American century, the author has made a conceptual distinction between rela-
tive and absolute decline and has argued that it is quite possible that a state performs impressively at the
domestic level, but may witness relative decline because others’ performance may outcast it, culminating
into a relative decline, as was the case with Netherlands and Britain in the seventeenth and nineteenth
centuries, respectively. It is worth noting that the relative decline stands for ‘a decrease in relative exter-
nal power’ while absolute decline means ‘domestic deterioration or decay’ (p. 20). In the fifth chapter,
the author has evaluated the decline of the American century in absolute terms and compares it with
Rome, which witnessed an absolute decline. To this end, the author has taken three variables, namely,