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America Remains Indispensable

Summary:
The latest resurgence of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has also laid bare a crucial geopolitical reality. While many countries aspire to be global power brokers, only America has the ability to do so. BERLIN – In addition to a pandemic, this decade has already been overshadowed by the return of great power rivalries. Few developments could be more threatening to world peace. Three world wars – two of them hot, one cold – during the twentieth century highlighted the danger of high-stakes geopolitical competition. European and African Leaders Call for a New Deal for Africa Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images The

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The latest resurgence of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has also laid bare a crucial geopolitical reality. While many countries aspire to be global power brokers, only America has the ability to do so.

BERLIN – In addition to a pandemic, this decade has already been overshadowed by the return of great power rivalries. Few developments could be more threatening to world peace. Three world wars – two of them hot, one cold – during the twentieth century highlighted the danger of high-stakes geopolitical competition.

To many observers, the era of great power rivalry appeared to end once and for all with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But this assumption proved to be one of the gravest errors of the post-Cold War period (a time that abounded with momentous blunders and misconceptions). US political elites’ presumption of global empire – of a truly unilateral moment in world history – could not be sustained. Nor could the “eternal peace” anticipated by Europeans following the “end of History” in 1989, when Western liberal democracy and the market economy supposedly triumphed over all the alternatives.

On the contrary, the decades since the end of the Cold War have been marked by a loss of international order. As the last remaining global power, the United States exhausted itself in pointless wars in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush, and has since become increasingly self-absorbed.

The international system that America built after World War II began to disintegrate, leaving power vacuums that other powers – Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia – sought to...

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