The conclusion will attempt to synthesize and summarize the points made in the preceding chapters, in order to develop a more sustained theoretical overview of American power. While we can use the model developed in the book to think about the future, the main aim was not to make predictions, but rather to better chart the conditions by which American power may decline, remain robust, or potentially rise further. While it seems a banal historical truth that great powers ‘rise and fall’, we do need to get a better sense of why this is the case, the kinds of power resources states rely upon, and how we can see combinations of variables leading to relative or more severe decline. Part of the focus of the book was also to chart dimensions of power that are qualitatively American, so we are not just discussing American power, but American power. The main point made in this regard relates to the novel manner in which American core values were institutionalized in international relations, providing an important context for legitimacy in the international system. While such legitimacy has not gone uncontested, many of those core values have been embedded in international institutions to the extent that when the US does not live up to them, it is criticized for hypocrisy.
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