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  • Unrivaled

  • Why America Will Remain the World's Sole Superpower (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
  • By: Michael Beckley
  • Narrated by: Chris Monteiro
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

The United States has been the world's dominant power for more than a century. Now, many analysts believe that other countries are rising and the United States is in decline. Is the unipolar moment over? Is America finished as a superpower?

In this book, Michael Beckley argues that the United States has unique advantages over other nations that, if used wisely, will allow it to remain the world's sole superpower throughout this century. We are not living in a transitional, post-Cold War era. Instead, we are in the midst of what he calls the unipolar era - a period as singular and important as any epoch in modern history. This era, Beckley contends, will endure because the US has a much larger economic and military lead over its closest rival, China, than most people think and the best prospects of any nation to amass wealth and power in the decades ahead.

Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, this book covers hundreds of years of great power politics and develops new methods for measuring power and predicting the rise and fall of nations. By documenting long-term trends in the global balance of power and explaining their implications for world politics, the book provides guidance for policymakers, business people, and scholars alike.

The book is published by Cornell Univesity Press.

"Should be part of any serious debate about where we are headed." (The New York Times)

"Smart and sophisticated." (Foreign Affairs)

"It will quickly become a classic in international security studies." (Keir Lieber, Georgetown University)

©2018 Cornell University (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

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    3 out of 5 stars

Obsessed With War

This is a factually accurate book, no disputing that, however it is obsessed with who will win a war against America. It misses the point that just about no nation on the planet has any intention of starting a war with the USA, it would be rather one sided. What countries like China want to do is defend their access to world trade. China is not cruising up and down the coasts of America or Europe in aircraft carrier centred battle groups or maintaining 500+ overseas military bases, as America. It is America who has sought regime changes around the world, that has intimidated countries, started wars based on untruths. These facts are hardly touched upon amongst the lists of who has the most of everything. A dissapointing, very one sided, listen.

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  • Holly
  • 26-07-19

Great Statistical Information!

This was a Very interesting book about the Statistical Strengths and Weaknesses of the United States amongst the World Powers. I found it very interesting.. There was much data and information that might not be a common consideration when thinking about the Balancing act that is Worldwide Power and Hegimony. It addressed some amazing points to explain why the US is such a successful and long lived Democracy, The Author opened up points that could in fact, make improvements. My only complaint was when the Author put his Personal opinions into the book, mostly the last chapter, and of course, that was his intention from the start. If I was reading it again, I would skip the last chapter entirely. I prefer to leave the thought processes to the Reader instead of conjecture. Alas, it was published by Cornell Press, so that would have been expected. As nothing from there comes away without that slanted opinion. The Narrator did a wonderful job with this. Kudos! This book was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair review. Thank You.

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  • Stephen J. Schaller
  • 22-07-19

My new favorite book

Required reading for anyone interested in geopolitics, military strategy, or foreign relations. Noone living today will see a world in which the U.S. is no longer the sole superpower. Indeed, the gap between the U.S. and the next 7 most powerful nations -- China, Japan, Russia, Germany, U.K., France, and India -- will only widen in coming generations. Other geopolitical experts have hit similar themes when comparing the U.S. to China (e.g., Peter Zeihan), but Michael Beckley cogently explains these themes better than anyone. Zeihan goes deeper on energy and fracking issues, but Beckley goes deeper on military issues -- especially his discussion on China's outsized ambitions in the Spratly Islands and its (feckless) threats to invade Taiwan.

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  • Roger Glenn Duncan
  • 18-09-21

Gets annoyingly political

Pretty solid analysis that unfortunately becomes tainted when it diverts into politics that presupposes the basic premises of a leftwing narrative. I don’t recommend.

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  • Christopher Cody
  • 25-08-21

Great research and analysis - Solutions iffy

Convincing (if accurate), in depth information and a joy to consume. The historical work is rich and compelling and many unobvious details that turn widely acceoted notions on their head. The bulk of the work is in this vein. The last chapter is where opinion reigns with little supporting evidence, however good to assert if just for the points to argue. The performance was professional enough, but having listened to the actual author in interviews, would rather have heard the work coming from his own mouth since he is the one owning the assertions and may have sounded less like a textbook and more like a personal work of scholarship.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-08-21

Essential for understanding true likelihood of war

the narrative we're told is that China will inevitably become THE world superpower. the story is more complicated, though. its belt and road, urban expansion, and modernization all require resources, both financial and human. demographics are not on the side of a soon-becoming national power nation state and money is always a concern with such multitudinous priorities.

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  • Matthew
  • 05-08-21

Facts and Stats

This is a data-heavy book that paints a convincing argument that the U.S. is significantly stronger than any of its rivals on many dimensions. I found it to be a nice break from the headlines and shallow news articles that are always heralding the rise of China or other powers. Read this and you’ll see that America is very strong and will remain that way for at least many decades into the future.

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  • Jeffrey Scholz
  • 25-07-21

Easy to listen to and usefully informative

Here is another book I can recommend: Unrivaled, Why the United States will Remain the Sole Superpower.

The book was engaging enough that I wanted to binge read from start to finish, but informative enough that I forced myself to put it down between chapters to avoid having all the information going in one hear and out the other.

If I could summarize the book in one sentence, it would be: exposing flaws in geopolitical indicators that garner sensationalist headlines.

The book’s thesis is that throughout the rest of our lifetimes, and probably the rest of the century, the United States will continue to be the only superpower. No other nation will be able to singlehandedly cripple another nation with sanctions due to its consummate control of global finance and geopolitical clout, as well as project one-sided military power anywhere in the globe. And when measured in net wealth, the United States is getting richer, faster.

Consider GDP, which by some measures, the United States has been surpassed by China. GDP is a gross measure, not a net measure. GDP can increased by polluting a river and then spending money to clean it up, because goods and services are produced, but the cost and utility of them are not included in the measure.

Similarly, China had a larger army, but no experience winning major wars, a big navy but not enough fuel range to meaningfully defend it’s claim against rivals in the South China Sea, a proliferation of STEM universities but a deadweight of rampant cheating and 30% of time wasted studying Maoist thought.

The United States enjoys many subtle advantages that don’t grab headlines yet compound over time. It is the only major power that weak and friendly neighbors, it has more navigable waterways than the rest of the world combined which leads to an order of magnitude less shipping cost, it has two oceans that provide both protection from invaders and access to trade anywhere, it is agriculturally and energy independent (China is a net importer of both), and its relatively permissive immigration policy puts a continual brain drain on rivals.

The book’s effect on the reader is akin to discovering for the first time that not everyone who owns a BMW is actually well off financially. There is a massive underlying difference between an overstretched lease and comfortably affording. The book illuminates the geopolitical analogy of this.

The author clearly has a very detailed knowledge of what he is talking about (quick, which past naval conflicts were determined by the use of sea mines?), but one never gets the sense he is showing off. The book is packed with information, but the author doesn’t bombard the reader.

Readers may or may not agree with his policy suggestions in the final chapter, but they are not essential to his work whose primarily aim is to inform, or at least disentangle incomplete information, rather than persuade.

There is an aphorism in finance that “one should invest in companies that are so wonderful and idiot can run them because sooner or later one will.” After some wry reflection, one can see how applicable that is to forecasting the future of superpowers as well.

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  • Jason Wessels
  • 24-07-21

Spectacular insight

Succinctly distills the advantages and disadvantages across a spectrum of capability in present and future contested arenas. Outlines issues confronting the United States as it copes with being a unipolar power.

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  • Brendan
  • 21-05-21

Mostly good

A mostly interesting book. Sometimes he just throws in his own political jabs that are not really based on evidence, just his own political leaning. Takes away from the professionalism of the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ansel
  • 18-05-21

In an elite class of geopolitical write

Beckley gets it. Very complete vision. I appreciated all the citations of real life numbers.