American foreign policy: room to regroup

Posted: December 21, 2012 in Articles
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With Europe and China tackling existential crises and nations such as Iran and Russia facing a decline in power, is now a fitting time for the US to rethink its strategies? wonders George Friedman.

President Barack Obama has won re-election. However, he won with almost half the people voting against him. His win in the Electoral College was substantial — and that’s the win that really matters — but the popular vote determines how he governs, and he will govern with one more constraint added to all the others. The question is whether this weakens him or provides an opportunity. That is not determined by his policies but by the strategic situation, which, in my view, gives the United States some much-needed breathing room.

Structure of the international system

At the moment, the international system is built on three pillars: the United States, Europe and China. Europe, if it were united, would be very roughly the same size as the United States in terms of economy, population and potential military power. China is about a third the size of the other two economically, but it has been the growth engine of the world, making it more significant than size would indicate.

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