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The Upside of Down by Charles Kenny

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CHAPTER TWO

        It’s Not Our Fault

THE HISTORIAN ROBERT KAGAN has complained that pundits recently went from America boosting to America bashing in awfully short order. In 2004, he notes, Fareed Zakaria was arguing that the United States enjoyed a “comprehensive unipolarity,” and yet only four years later the Newsweek editor and CNN host was talking about the “post-American world.”1

But it isn’t just the chattering classes. According to Pew survey evidence across fourteen nations, the percentage of respondents who said that the United States was the leading power in 2010 was still 40 percent—compared to 36 percent who said China. In 2012, ...

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