Quarterly Review Fall 2001 Issue
U.S. Should Pursue
Global Strategy In A Unipolar World
9, 2001-- The collapse of the Soviet Union was heralded
in the West as a triumph of capitalism over communism, of democracy
over totalitarianism, of good over evil.
coast to coast, Americans thought that, with the United States as
the sole, surviving superpower, the world surely was entering a
new period of peace and prosperity. But as we saw on Sept. 11, when
terrorists crashed three jets into the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon -- giant symbols of American wealth and power -- not everyone
shares the U.S. view of the future.
A. Graebner, professor of history emeritus at the University of
Virginia, analyzes the United States' ascension to world power status
in his article, "Defining America's Role in a Unipolar World," in
the current Fall 2001 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review.
contends that events of the 1990s gave the U.S. an inflated sense
of its political, economic and military predominance. And while
other countries may not feel militarily threatened by the U.S.,
still they worry that U.S.-driven globalization may harm their national
integrity, political autonomy and economic health. Graebner notes:
the mid-1990s, the external relations of the United States had
lost whatever modesty and graciousness they once possessed.
The ubiquitous claims to hegemony quickly, almost automatically,
convinced much of the world that the United States had acquired
a taste for dominance. Foreign officials and observers complained
of American arrogance in its burgeoning efforts to dictate national
and international behavior.
this unbalanced world, with the U.S. acting unilaterally in pursuit
of short-term policy goals, it has damaged a network of global relationships,
leading to a less-stable world, Graebner believes. The United States
must abandon this short-sighted and unsustainable approach to foreign
policy, he argues. Instead, the U.S. must lead the way in seeking
multilateral solutions to strengthen and expand essential international
it may take a global conflict, like the one in which we are now
engaged, to persuade U.S. policy makers to look to long-term, multinational
strategies to address global issues, rather than continuing to view
problems as occurring in a "unipolar world." Even so, Graebner appreciates
the difficulty of creating a truly international coalition that
both stabilizes world politics while enabling the United States
to pursue its national policy goals.
The Virginia Quarterly Review
Virginia Quarterly Review, a journal published by the University
of Virginia, is in its 75th year of bringing thought-provoking
fiction, poetry and essays to the attention of the reading public.
Joanna Gluckman, (434) 924-6858