While observers focused on trade negotiations between the US and China and Brexit in March, India may have fired the first real shot in a battle over global leadership when that country’s military shot down a low-orbit satellite. That’s part of a theory, anyway. It is almost always dangerous to try to bend the world to suit theories. People can, of course, look back to see if evidence actually supports a theory. If it does, the theory is useful. If it does not, a new start has to be made. There is a theory, supported by evidence of the past about 70 years, that explains how a country exercises global economic leadership (or hegemony) to preserve stability. As the evidence of the postwar period has shown, to provide this global leadership and stability a country needs to have economic power, serve as lender of last resort, and be prepared to (at least) demonstrate military power and the will to defend or protect the order it has established. Since the end of World War 2, the US has b...

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