CSIS Releases New Report "Capacity and Resolve: Foreign Assessment of U.S. Power"
June 24, 2011
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 – The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has produced a new report, “Capacity and Resolve: Foreign Assessments of U.S. Power,” that explores how U.S. power is perceived in Asia, the Middle East, and Eurasia and what these perceptions mean for U.S. foreign policy.
Please find a link to the CSIS Capacity and Resolve report by visiting:
Executive summary prepared by the report’s editor:
This study looks at foreign assessments of U.S. power over the next ten years, the primary drivers of such views, and the implications of these assessments for sustained U.S. leadership in the coming era.
Most see the United States in decline relative to rising powers like China but do not see a fundamentally new order emerging in the next decade. Foreign expectations of U.S. power remain great. Over the long term, the main worry is not U.S. capacity, but U.S. resolve and competency.
- In Asia, this study examines Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Indian views of U.S. power. The United States is in a strong position in Asia although this is not assured. Countries are watching carefully the U.S. capacity for economic regeneration and Washington’s enduring commitment to the region. Regional demands on U.S. power are only likely to increase during this period of increasing limitations and constraints.
- In the Middle East, this study looked at Israeli and Gulf views of U.S. power. The study finds that a powerful United States that deemphasizes the region could cause profound realignment, but a diminished United States committed to the region could shape order for decades to come. It is too early to know whether Washington’s management of the Arab Spring, NATO’s engagement in Libya, or the Israel-Palestinian conflict will dislodge Iraq and Iran as the main tests of U.S. power.
- In Eurasia, this study looked at Russian, Turkish, and German views of U.S. power. The alliance politics of the Cold War are clearly over. Germans and Turks have diminished faith in U.S. leadership. They do not deny U.S. capabilities, but they are more willing to challenge U.S. policy, which they view as misaligned with national objectives. Russians have tempered their pessimistic views of U.S. power and look more cautiously now at multipolarity. In Eurasia, U.S. policy is seen as the critical independent variable.
Few consulted for this study saw great likelihood in regional powers bandwagoning successfully against the United States in the next decade or a single regional power confronting the United States in a “Suez moment” in which U.S. power is shown to be lacking. China and Iran create their own antibodies, which push neighbors closer into Washington’s orbit.
The risks to the U.S. position associated with the rise of regional powers may thus be somewhat overstated. Similarly, few believed nonstate actors had the potential to erode U.S. primacy on their own in the next decade.
Recent events demonstrate, however, that the current order is not static or easily managed. Despite this turbulence, the world is still largely welcoming of U.S. leadership. It expects it, and it is afraid to lose it. The greatest challenge may thus come not from external forces, but from a divided, insular, less confident United States.
# # #
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions; accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in these publications should be understood to be solely those of the authors.