To read this content please select one of the options below:

The flailing hegemon: Managing U.S. military decline

The United States in Decline

ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7, eISBN: 978-1-78350-830-3

Publication date: 24 June 2014


This chapter argues that aspiring hegemons face a wide array of complex and distinct military challenges. Managing scarce military resources requires a subtle and complex global strategy that is likely to generate cognitive overload for the political system. As a result of cognitive overload, aspiring hegemons are likely to flail around, rapidly shifting from one global strategy to another. Such strategic flailing will occur independently of whether or not the economy is in crisis, though clearly economic crisis will exacerbate the tendency towards strategic incoherence. The chapter examines U.S. global strategy since the end of the Cold War, looking at the focus on “rogue regimes,” a growing concern with “global chaos,” worry about the rise of a peer competitor (China), and the debates about the root causes of, and best strategies to mitigate, terrorism. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of culture and notions of national identity and their role in the formulation of grand strategy.



Roxborough, I. and Levy, Z. (2014), "The flailing hegemon: Managing U.S. military decline", The United States in Decline (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 107-145.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited