The twenty-first century seemed destined to be the American century, but within the first decade, the stock market bubble, costly foreign interventions, and the financial catastrophe of 2008 jolted America into a sudden recognition of its systemic vulnerability. Moreover, the East’s capacity for economic growth and technological innovation prompted new anxiety about the West’s future. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, without an America that is economically vital, socially appealing, responsibly powerful, and capable of sustaining an intelligent foreign engagement, the geopolitical prospects for the West could become increasingly grave. How ominous are the symptoms of America’s domestic and international decline and what would be its likely geopolitical consequences? What are the implications of the changing distribution of global power from West to East? What should America’s long-term geopolitical goals include in order to shape a more vital and larger West and to fruitfully engage the emerging dynamism of the East?
Zbigniew Brzezinski, is counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and a professor of American foreign policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.