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HKS Authors

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Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus


Is the United States in decline? Many Americans think so, and they are not alone. A recent Pew poll showed that pluralities in 13 of 25 countries believe that China will replace the U.S. as the world's leading superpower. But describing the future of power as inevitable American decline is both misleading and dangerous if it encourages China to engage in adventurous policies or the U.S. to overreact out of fear. How would we know if the declinists are correct or not? First, one must beware of misleading metaphors of organic decline. Nations are not like humans with predictable life spans.


Nye, Jr., Joseph S. "The Misleading Metaphor of Decline." Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2011.