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To argue against the widely proclaimed idea of American decline, as this book does, might seem a lonely task. After all, the problems are real and serious. Yet if we take a longer view, much of the discourse about decline appears exaggerated, hyperbolic, and ahistorical. Why? First, because of the deep underlying strengths of the United States. These include not only size, population, demography, and resources, but also the scale and importance of its economy and financial markets, its scientific research and technology, its competitiveness, its military power, and its attractiveness to talented immigrants. Second, there is the weight of history and of American exceptionalism. Throughout its history, the United States has repeatedly faced and eventually overcome daunting challenges and crises. Contrary to a prevailing pessimism, there is nothing inevitable about American decline. Flexibility, adaptability, and the capacity for course correction provide the United States with a unique resilience that has proved invaluable in the past and will do so in the future. Ultimately, the ability to avoid serious decline is less a question of material factors than of policy, leadership, and political will.
Robert J. Lieber is Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University, where he has previously served as Chair of the Government Department and Interim Chair of Psychology. He is an authority on American foreign policy and U.S. relations with the Middle East and Europe. Professor Lieber has lectured widely in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the policy realm, he has been a foreign policy adviser in several presidential campaigns and consultant to the State Department and for National Intelligence Estimates. His articles and opeds have appeared in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers, including International Security, Foreign Policy, American Political Science Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National Interest, Commentary, Internationale Politik (Berlin), Politique Etrangere (Paris), International Affairs (London), Harper’s, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Ha’aretz (Tel Aviv), and Asharq Al-Awsat (London), among others, and his media appearances have included The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS TV, ABC TV's Good Morning America and Nightline, NBC and CBS network news, the O'Reilly Factor on Fox TV, Voice of America, BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, and other radio and TV programs in Europe, the Arab world and Israel.
Copies of 'Power and Willpower in the American Future' will be available for purchase.