Dani Rodrik and Gillian Tett assess
Washington’s management o
ization and nance, respectively. The
neoliberalism and the
push for hyperglobalization produced
greater economic integration between
countries but also political disintegra-
tion within them—and thus led to a
populist backlash. The culture o
American nance, meanwhile, colonized
the world and then dragged it into
crisis—and it will do so again, unless
the nancial system becomes the
the broader economy rather
than its master.
Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson turn
their focus inward, examining Washing-
ton’s declining capacity to use govern-
ment to provide broad public goods.
They call out not just rising inequality,
changing demographics, and regional
economic divergence but also changes in
the Republican Party and its agenda.
Julia Azari looks at domestic dysfunc-
tion, too, but spreads the blame further,
arguing that today’s problems stem from
earlier bungled, incomplete reforms that
produced a democracy at once broadly
inclusive and utterly ine ective.
In the early 1990s, the era o
can postwar dominance segued into an
American post–Cold War
dominance. Now that era is segueing
into something else, as yet unknown.
Sic transit gloria mundi.
—Gideon Rose, Editor
generation ago, the United
States was condently leading
the world into what was sup-
posed to be a new millennium o
prosperity, freedom, and community.
Now, the globe is heading into turbulence,
and the United States is a Leonard
Cohen song; that’s how it goes, and
everybody knows. How could things fall
apart so quickly?
In retrospect, the decline appears
inevitable. What seems to need explaining
today are Washington’s n-de-siècle
fever dreams o lasting benign U.S.
hegemony, not the current reality o
perpetual conict at home and abroad.
But those who lived through the era
know that nothing was written, that
history could have played out di er-
ently. So we decided to o er an autopsy
the last decades o
leadership—the years when U.S. elites
squandered the inheritance and good
name bequeathed to them.
Fareed Zakaria starts by tracing the
the United States’ post–Cold
War hegemony—rising from the fall o
the Berlin Wall to the fall o Baghdad,
sinking ever since. External shocks and
challenges hurt, poor strategic choices
hurt even more, and indi erence most
all. Larry Diamond follows with a
look at trends in democratization,
showing how the undertow o
wave sucked the world into a new era o
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AMERICAN CENTURY?
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