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Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

25. US decline or primacy? A debate  

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter presents two opposing views on the question of whether US power is in decline, and if so, what would be the best grand strategy that the United States need to pursue. According to Christopher Layne, the United States is now in inexorable decline and that this process of decline has been hastened by the pursuit of global primacy in the post-Cold War era. He also contends that primacy engenders balancing by other great powers as well as eroding America’s ‘soft power’ global consensual leadership. On the other hand, William Wohlforth and Steven Brooks insist that the United States remains the sole superpower in the world and that it faces comparatively weak systemic constraints on the global exercise of its power. The chapter considers issues of unipolarity and multipolarity, along with the implications of China’s rise as a great power status for US foreign policy and hegemony.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

23. US decline or primacy? A debate  

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter focuses on the debate over whether U.S. power is in decline and if so, what is the best grand strategy that the United States needs to pursue. Three leading experts offer their views on the issue and its significance for U.S. foreign policy: Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Steven Brooks. Layne argues that the United States is now in inexorable decline and attributes it to the end of unipolarity. He identifies two specific drivers of American decline, one external and one domestic. The external driver of U.S. decline is the emergence of new great powers in world politics, while domestic drivers include debt, deficits, and the dollar’s uncertain future. In contrast, Wohlforth and Brooks assert that the United States remains the sole superpower, and that multipolarity is not just around the corner.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

1. International Relations and the European Union  

Themes and Issues

This edition examines the contexts in which the European Union has reflected and affected major forces and changes in international relations (IR) by drawing on concepts such as balance of power, multipolarity, multilateralism, interdependence, and globalization. It explores the nature of policymaking in the EU's international relations and the ways in which EU policies are pursued within the international arena. Topics include the EU's role in the global political economy, how the EU has developed an environmental policy, and how it has attempted to graft a common defence policy onto its generalized foreign and security policy. This chapter discusses the volume's methodological assumptions and considers three perspectives on IR and the EU: the EU as a subsystem of IR, the EU and the processes of IR, and the EU as a power in IR. It also provides an overview of the chapters that follow.