Journal Article, International Security, issue 36, volume 4
Kyle Haynes and William R. Thompson respond to Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent's spring 2011 International Security article, "Graceful Decline? The Surprising Success of Great Power Retrenchment."
"Husbanding resources is simply sensible. In the competitive game of power politics, states must unsentimentally realign means with ends or be punished for their profligacy. Attempts to maintain policies advanced when U.S. relative power was greater are outdated, unfounded, and imprudent. Retrenchment policies—greater burden sharing with allies, less military spending, and less involvement in militarized disputes—hold the most promise for arresting and reversing decline."
Journal Article, International Security, issue 4, volume 35
There is broad scholarly consensus that the relative power of the United States is declining and that this decline will have negative consequences for international politics. This pessimism is justified by the belief that great powers have few options to deal with acute relative decline. Retrenchment is seen as a hazardous policy that demoralizes allies and encourages external predation. Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, however, retrenchment is not a relatively rare and ineffective policy instrument. A comparison of eighteen cases of acute relative decline since 1870 demonstrates that great powers frequently engage in retrenchment and that retrenchment is often effective. In addition, we find that prevailing explanations overstate the importance of democracies, bureaucracies, and interest groups in inhibiting retrenchment. In fact, the rate of decline can account for both the extent and form of retrenchment, even over short periods. These arguments have important implications for power transition theories and the rise of China.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 33
Joseph Parent and Joseph Bafumi reply to the Fall 2007 International Security article, "Dead Center: The Demise of Liberal Internationalism in the United States," by Charles Kupchan and Peter Trubowitz.