Ian Bremmer, one of the most charismatic debaters to grace the IQ2US stage, has ignited a national debate about America’s role as a superpower. In his new book, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, he presents a nation in a state of identity crisis, and explores three alternative paths to help us find our way. Bremmer asks, which superpower would you choose: Indispensable America? Moneyball America? Or Independent America?
In the 2008 IQ2US debate “America Should Be the World’s Policeman,” Bremmer, a political scientist and CEO of Eurasia Group, called for a reality check: accept that America is both incapable of and unprepared for this role.
Today, when globalization is no longer synonymous with Americanization, he stands by this premise. The United States must evolve from its current state of “continuing to blunder forward reactively without a strategy.”
So, what kind of superpower should the United States become? Bremmer offers three concepts:
Indispensable America actively defends and promotes the structures and standards that strengthen individual liberty and free market capitalism around the world. It is a United States that takes a stand—with a coherent and comprehensive global foreign policy strategy—because it’s the only nation that can.
Moneyball America is based on the concept of Michael Lewis’s best-seller of the same name. In a more challenging and competitive world, this America focuses on enhancing its value. It pivots away from unproductive idea-selling and toward investment in commercial and security ties from which all Americans can profit.
Independent America recognizes that a more multipolar and volatile world highlights the strengths of U.S. markets. It leads, mainly by example, by investing in its resource, demographic and technological advantages to “build a secure, dynamic and prosperous nation that others want to emulate.”
Bremmer argues for his own preference, but the book’s purpose is to inspire “serious-minded, constructive” debate—amongst both readers as well as (and especially) the 2016 presidential candidates.
Which “America” would I choose? Each has its merits, but Moneyball America forces us to grapple with the limits of our resources and the need to allocate them wisely. It requires our leaders to ask the right questions when considering America’s response to developments abroad. What is happening? Why is it happening? Why does it matter? What can we do about it? What are the risks and rewards of action … and inaction?
Which America do you want to see?