US Adjustments to Global Power Shifts and Diffusion: An Analysis of Selected Security Issues

How is the United States adjusting to rising powers and power diffusion in the international arena? This working paper investigates post-Cold War adjustments in US policy and discourse on selected transnational issues (terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber-security, and weak states), new forms of intervention (humanitarian interventions and post-conflict stabilization), and rising powers. Evidence of effective US leadership to create cooperative threat management varies by issue: for example, it is strong on counter-terrorism, middling on nuclear non-proliferation, nascent on cyber-security, and constrained on the "responsibility to protect." The issues also vary in how long they have been prioritized by the United States, the level of US commitment to find a solution, their inherent complexity, and the potential for finding common ground given value differences and historic grievances among key players. It is also evident that American policymakers have attempted to draw rising powers into global governance, to create new partnerships, and to invent new cooperative structures to solve common problems; nonetheless, American leaders adhere to the view that the United States remains the "indispensible power".

Paper produced within the framework of the IAI project Transworld.

Roma, Istituto affari internazionali, 2013, 37 p.
Publication date: 

1. Introduction
2. Adjustment to Evolving Security Threats and Domains
    2.1 International Terrorism
    2.2 WMD and Non-proliferation
    2.3 Cyber-Security
    2.4 Weak States
3. Adjustment to New Forms of War
    3.1 Humanitarian Interventions
    3.2 Post-Conflict Stabilization
4. Adjustment to Rising Powers
5. Conclusion

Research area