International Politics

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 571–593

The Exceptional Empire: Why the United States Will Not Decline — Again

  • Robert Singh
The End of the ‘Unipolar Moment’?

DOI: 10.1057/ip.2008.25

Cite this article as:
Singh, R. Int Polit (2008) 45: 571. doi:10.1057/ip.2008.25


Is the United States inevitably in decline? After the foreign policy controversies of the George W. Bush years, a new consensus declares the end of American dominion. In this article this conventional wisdom is challenged. The US constitutes an ‘exceptional empire’ and, despite the recent rise of powers such as the EU, China and India, the four foundations of this distinctive empire remain robust. First, the US still exhibits global predominance in hard power. Second, the essentially unipolar international order shaped by Washington remains resilient. Third, neither the rise of ‘anti-Americanism’ nor the alleged decline of US ‘soft power’ endanger its predominance. Fourth, the US political class is committed to preserving American primacy after Bush. No other power is currently in range of competing with the US for global influence. Moreover, each faces powerful internal weaknesses and external threats at least as significant as those facing the US. America's global predominance in hard and soft power do not translate into omnipotence. Nor does predominance promise an error-free foreign policy. The US nonetheless continues to defy both history and theory.


exceptional empire hard power George W. Bush unipolar US foreign policy decline 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of LondonLondonUK

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