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On Being A Superpower: And Not Knowing What To Do About It

Seymour J Deitchman

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Prose: non-fiction, History

As the sole remaining superpower, shouldn't the United States be able to call the tune on establishing a secure world to our liking? While most international strategists conjure up history and theory of international relations from the past to examine such a question, Sy Deitchman, in On Being a Superpower, focuses on today's changing conditions and attitudes. He starts by addressing hypothetical situations that keep US international security experts awake at night. What would the United States do, he asks, if, in Saudi Arabia, an armed rebellion by Islamic fundamentalists were about to topple the House of Saud while demanding that the US get out of the Middle East? Would the United States go to war to try stop China's invasion of a democratic Taiwan that declares its independence? Could the US really win such a war against a determined country that has over a billion people and nuclear weapons? If a Central American drug cartel gained de facto control of the Panama canal and turned it into a smuggling lynchpin, what would the United States do? Deitchman examines these and other scenarios and then pictures how the US would likely respond, based on our society's current moral concerns, political rhetoric, and overall world view. After reviewing the challenges the world will present to us and examining the current state of our nation and its armed forces, Deitchman describes the strategy for preserving US security that appears to be emerging without explicit planning. He shows how trends in the armed forces parallel the trends in society, and how our argumentative political system is affecting our ability to build and use military power to support our strategy. Deitchman's synthesis of all these themes shows that the existing trends in the nation and the world are not favourable for our future security. Can they be changed? And if so, how? That's the conundrum readers of this book are invited to ponder.

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