Extending the American Century: Revisiting the Social Contract
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
As the guns fell silent at the end of World War I, the US could no longer deny its great power status. Though abdicating the responsibilities inherent to this status during the interwar years, the US eventually fought on a global scale again during World War II. The conclusion of this conflict ushered the beginning of the Cold War and what came to be called the "American Century." The United States' efforts during the Cold War focused on protecting itself and its allies without compromising America's democratic system, values, and ideals.1 The US was generally successful at achieving these ends.2 Following the Cold War, the US enjoyed a brief period of primacy. The US was the sole global hegemon and exerted its ideological, political, economic, and military might to expand the world order it created after World War II. Three decades after the Cold War ended, American primacy is eroding and its influence is contested by revisionist powers. America's combat credibility is not in question, and rising powers could only threaten US leadership if American power is weakened on an absolute basis. The true challenge to continuing 21st-century American leadership therefore comes from within.
Matisek, Jahara, Travis Robison, and Buddhika Jayamaha. "Extending the American Century: Revisiting the Social Contract." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 20 (2019): 5-15. https://doi.org/10.1353/gia.2019.0018.