Well, it sure was nice being the world's hyperpower while it lasted. We won the Cold War in 1989 and it took less than 20 years to watch a restructuring. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to a bygone era - not the hair-trigger peace of mutually assured destruction and spy vs. spy stuff between the Superpowers - no, we go further back than that. Welcome back to the time of the Great Powers.
Yeah, we're still at the top of the totem pole. But somewhere along the way, we couldn't hear what was going on elsewhere over the sound of how awesome we were, and now we're learning in a very loud way that not very many folks were listening to the music at our house party.
If you thought we heard the words "appeasement" and "intrigue" in our political discourse before, just wait. Welcome back to "sphere of influence." Now we're going to have to balance our tough Texas talk with our actual national priorities, goals and the realpolitik of any given situation. I mean, could we back up a real pro-Western democracy in Georgia (the nation) if Russia really, really wanted to make a point of it?
If you've got the time, you may want to dust off your old poli-sci textbooks and brush up on your rational actor theories and balance of power models within the scope of foreign policy analysis. (And by being at the top, we're not in the best shape in the 'balance of power' models...just ask the British Empire...)
I was totally looking forward to never having to read Global Shift again, evar.