The decline of the American empire
As the world is undergoing a profound transformation, what role will the US play in a post-American century?
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2012 12:05

The US has the world's biggest economy, the most influential culture, and the most potent military machine, with a budget that equals that of all other nations combined. It is the only power with a global project defended and supported by more aircraft carriers, Fortune 500 companies, and more successful media-tainment conglomerates than any other.

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But the last decade has been problematic for the world's only superpower.

America's post-Cold War optimism has given way to pessimism, forecasting a declining power and more crucially, the end of "the American era".

The rise of new regional and global powers, coupled with Washington's recent war fiascos and financial crisis have worsened the outlook for the future of the US.

Countless books have been written prophesying the end with titles like: Suicide of a Superpower; The Empire Has No Clothes; Taming American Power; Nemesis: the Last Days of the American Republic; Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire; and Selling out A Superpower.

So, is all this talk of the US decline premature? And if not, what role will the US play in a post-US century?

Empire finds out.

Guests: Tom Engelhardt, editor, Tomdispatch; Susan Glasser, editor-in-chief, Foreign Policy; Professor Stephen M. Walt, International Affairs, Harvard University; Professor Cynthia Enloe, author, The Real State Of America.

Interviewees: Professor Nicholas Burns, former US under-secretary of state; Professor Andrew Bacevich, International Relations, Boston University; Professor Scott Lucas, American Studies, Birmingham University; Martin Wolf, chief economist, Financial Times; Professor Linda Yueh, economist, Oxford University; Kate Bulkley, technology and media analyst.

Read more in the transcript.


This episode of Empire can be seen from Thursday, December 29, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2000; Friday:1200; Saturday: 0100; Sunday: 0600; Monday: 2000; Tuesday: 1200; Wednesday: 0100; Thursday: 0600.

Click here for more Empire.

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