In This Review

No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn
No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn
By Charles A. Kupchan
Oxford University Press, USA, 2012, 272 pp

Kupchan refreshingly avoids the parochialism that has defined recent debates over American decline. He writes about a world in which the United States makes its foreign policy -- not a world that the United States supposedly still makes. In his view, rising powers are not neatly integrating into a U.S.-dominated world, as if taking their places “on offer” from the United States. He also argues that the changing world order is marked more by a broad diffusion of power than by a classical transition from one great power (the United States) to another (China). The result is not a twenty-first-century version of nineteenth-century multi-polarity but a mosaic of “multiple modernities” rooted in distinct histories and political models. Kupchan is rightfully concerned that uncertain power balances, contested authority, and divergent national interests could produce conflict. Still, he believes that the United States should now be less intent on shaping the world and more focused on adapting to it, in part by being more open to others’ ideas about what constitutes an optimal international order. Moving beyond scholarly debates and election-season paeans to American exceptionalism, Kupchan urges readers to see the world as it is becoming, not how it used to be or how they might like it to be.