HKS Authors

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Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus


Not since Rome has one nation loomed so large above the others. In the words of The Economist, “the United States bestrides the globe like a colossus. It dominates business, commerce and communications; its economy is the world's most successful, its military might second to none.” French foreign minister Hubert Védrine argued in 1999 that the United States had gone beyond its superpower status of the twentieth century. “U.S. supremacy today extends to the economy, currency, military areas, lifestyle, language and the products of mass culture that inundate the world, forming thought and fascinating even the enemies of the United States.” Or as two American triumphalists put it, “Today's international system is built not around a balance of power but around American hegemony.” As global interdependence has increased, many have argued that globalization is simply a disguise for American imperialism. The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that “American idols and icons are shaping the world from Katmandu to Kinshasa, from Cairo to Caracas. Globalization wears a ‘Made in USA’ label.”


Nye, Jr., Joseph S. "Limits of American Power." Political Science Quarterly 131.2 (June 2016): 267-283.