Since the closing days of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers, pundits, international relations scholars, and policy analysts have argued that great-power war is a relic of a bygone age. In 1986, the historian John Lewis Gaddis termed the post–World War II era a “Long Peace” because the Soviet Union and the United States had not come to blows. A few years later, the political scientist John Mueller suggested that changing norms had made great-power conflict obsolete. By 2011, the psychologist Steven Pinker was arguing that the Long Peace had morphed into a “New Peace,” marked by a generalized decrease of

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  • CHRISTOPHER LAYNE is University Distinguished Professor of International Affairs and Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security at Texas A&M University and the author of the forthcoming book After the Fall: International Politics, U.S. Grand Strategy, and the End of the Pax Americana.
  • More By Christopher Layne