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The End of American Exceptionalism

What the United States Should Learn From Its Peers

A U.S. soldier in a camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan, February 2013 Bryan Denton / The New York Time​s / Redux

By now, commentators and policymakers across the entire U.S. political spectrum have acknowledged in action, if not in words, that the nation’s international standing and foreign policy are in crisis. The Cold War ended 30 years ago; the United States opened the self-inflicted wound of the global “war on terror” 20 years ago. Today, powerful economies outside the United States expect an equal say in shaping the international order. Military competitors such as China and Russia, while still no match for the United States, are gaining the upper hand in their immediate spheres of influence. After a period of unmatched wealth and military supremacy, the United States is navigating a world order in which it cannot dictate global rules. 

Washington has begun to come to terms with a global transformation that it helped catalyze but by no means controls. For a brief period after the Cold War, the United States

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