You Can't Imagine World War III Between America and China

War Is Boring

War Is Boring

Security,

And the amount of blood that would be spilled.

You Can't Imagine World War III Between America and China

This piece has been adapted and expanded from Alfred McCoy’s new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power.

For the past 50 years, American leaders have been supremely confident that they could suffer military setbacks in places such as Cuba or Vietnam without having their system of global hegemony, backed by the world’s wealthiest economy and finest military, affected.

The country was, after all, the planet’s “indispensible nation,” as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proclaimed in 1998 — and other presidents and politicians have insisted ever since. The United States enjoyed a greater “disparity of power” over its would-be rivals than any empire ever, Yale historian Paul Kennedy announced in 2002. Certainly, it would remain “the sole superpower for decades to come,” Foreign Affairs magazine assured us in 2016.

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