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American decline: Global Politics and useful Oxbridge prep

Mike McCartney

27th September 2021

One of the most interesting topics on the Global Politics route is the debate about whether American hegemony is over - includes videos

There has been a whole host of stuff from the Economist on this post the Afghanistan withdrawal. Access often requires a subscription, but not to all of it.

Article asking if America wasted its unipolar moment: How America wasted its unipolar moment | The Economist

The historian Niall Ferguson on American declinism: Niall Ferguson on why the end of America’s empire won’t be peaceful | The Economist

Francis Fukuyama on the internal threat to the US's dominance: Francis Fukuyama on the end of American hegemony | The Economist

Quite an interesting feature from the Guardian on the legacy of 9/11 (bit of a crossover with the terrorism topic here) which also cleverly looks at how the terror attacks changed the nature of domestic politics. As Julian Borger reported:

"Spencer Ackerman, the author of Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, argues that the amorphous “war on terror” supercharged and institutionalised enduring strands of white supremacism running through US political history.

Ackerman, a former Guardian journalist, contrasts the political response to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, by the white supremacist Timothy McVeigh, to the al-Qaida plane hijacking attacks six years later.

In the Oklahoma case, Republicans in Congress disputed any suggestion of wider complicity of the far right. To the extent anti-terror legislation was strengthened, it was directed against foreign groups. Patriotism was identified with whiteness.

“One of the most important lessons of the war on terror is that a white man with a flag and a gun is told by the culture of the war on terror that he is a counter-terrorist, not a terrorist,” said Ackerman, adding that a direct line can be drawn between the war on terror and the 6 January pro-Trump insurrection in Washington.

“You can see from the iconography of who is in that crowd, who’s storming the Capitol,” Ackerman said. “There are a lot of people in hard-knuckle gloves and tactical gear basically cosplaying as the warriors that the war on terror and its media portrayals convinced them is the mark of valorous American behavior.”

Link to full article is here: How 9/11 led the US to forever wars, eroded rights – and insurrection | September 11 2001 | The Guardian

Text from the Economist as a prelude to video:

"Still reeling from the withdrawal in Afghanistan, America is battling political polarisation and social division at home as well as facing an unfolding national climate crisis. With China growing in strength, many have begun to ask: is America in decline? The Economist’s US editor, John Prideaux, joins our Washington bureau chief, James Astill, and senior editor, James Bennet, to discuss whether these are genuine signs of a superpower in decline."

Video from the Economist
Video from the Atlantic

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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