“America will remain the world’s only superpower for the foreseeable future. But what sort of superpower should it be? What role should America play in the world? What role do you want America to play?”
Ian Bremmer is political scientist, perhaps best known for the “J-Curve.” The “J-Curve” describes the relationship between a country’s openness and it’s stability. In Superpower, Bremmer outlines three possibilities for the future of America and asks the readers to make up their own minds as to where they stand. He argues each case as convincingly as the next and as a reader, you find yourself agreeing to more than you thought you might. Along those lines, Superpower is the best example of persuasive writing that I can recall reading. Bremmer uses the opposite of a straw man argument for each case. I recently saw this described as a “steel man” argument wherein one attempts to find the strongest and best possible version of an opponents argument, ensures that it is accurate, and then, and only then, attempts to break it down. Bremmer is completely convincing in each of his arguments which is imperative as his reason for writing the book was the belief that Americans “too often base their foreign policy choices on allegiance or opposition to the party in power.”
The book begins with a ten question quiz that Bremmer asks again after each chapter or section. He acknowledges that he was not entirely sure where he stood when he started the book but promises, and fulfills, to declare his own opinion at the end, after he hopes readers have made up their own minds.
The three possibilities outlined are called: “Independent America,” “Moneyball America,” and “Indispensable America.” I won’t detail the three possibilities as Bremmer wanted readers to make up their own minds and I’d hate to influence you before you had the same opportunity.