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The Specter of American Decline

Global challenges to the U.S. agenda foster the broad public perception that America is in decline. The rise of China threatens U.S. economic power, unrest in the Arab world rekindles anti-Americanism, and Iran and North Korea defy American demands to cease their nuclear weapons programs. Are these challenges an accurate gauge of waning U.S. power, or are we in danger of succumbing to the specter of American decline? In the face of such discourse, what can Americans do to alter this perception? How can we continue to compete effectively in the twenty-first century?

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow in foreign policy at The Brookings Institution. He also serves as a member of Secretary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board and is cochairman of the bipartisan Working Group on Egypt. His most recent book, The World America Made, will be available for purchase and signing following the program.

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