Afterglow or Adjustment

Overview

With the end of the Cold War, politicians and pundits spoke of a peace dividend as well as a glorious new world order. But now, the United States seems entangled in more international obligations than ever before. Does the U.S. have the resources to maintain its numerous and growing commitments? Or is it bound to suffer from "overstretch"? What choices does a nation burdened with international responsibilities have to avoid becoming over-extended?

Mark R. Brawley argues -- ...

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Overview

With the end of the Cold War, politicians and pundits spoke of a peace dividend as well as a glorious new world order. But now, the United States seems entangled in more international obligations than ever before. Does the U.S. have the resources to maintain its numerous and growing commitments? Or is it bound to suffer from "overstretch"? What choices does a nation burdened with international responsibilities have to avoid becoming over-extended?

Mark R. Brawley argues -- against the orthodox view -- that the problem is not that policymakers fail to recognize overstretch, but that they fail to adjust to it. He details how hegemonic powers respond to overcommitment with "afterglows," maintaining leadership obligations long after such policies have ceased to be rational from a national, or domestic, perspective. Afterglow or Adjustment examines differing responses to overstretch in modern history, focusing mostly on military and economic policies in the U.S. and Britain over the past century.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

William Roberts Clark
Brawley injects a healthy dose of human agency into the often mechanistic study of hegemonic decline. Afterglow or Adjustment should be read carefully by anyone interested in understanding why powerful states are often slow to adjust to changing international circumstances.
Booknews
Examines states' responses to overstretch, an overextension of one country's efforts to organize and lead global political and economic affairs, in an attempt to discover how states can successfully extricate themselves from overextension. Shows that decision makers usually recognize the problem, and explains variations in responses to overstretch, looking especially at maintenance of international obligations associated with leadership long after such policies no longer appear to be rational from a national perspective. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231113274
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark R. Brawley is associate professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and is author of Turning Points: Decisions Shaping the Evolution of the International Political Economyand Liberal Leadership: Great Powers and Their Challengers in Peace and War.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1: Overextension and the Obstacles to Adjustment2: From Ascendance to Afterglow: The Bank of England in British Hegemony3: Afteglow Avoided?: The Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and the Breakdown of Bretton Woods4: Institutional Innovation and Ineffective Leadership: The Bank of Amsterdam and the Stadholderate5: Britain's Decline, Military Overcommitment, and the Committee of Imperial Defense6: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Military Overcommitment during American Leadership7: The Rarity of Effective Adjustments

Columbia University Press

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