The Decline of American Power

The U.S. in a Chaotic World

The internationally renowned theorist contends that the sun is setting on the American empire

“Today, the United States is a superpower that lacks true power, a world leader nobody follows and few respect, and a nation drifting dangerously amidst a global chaos it cannot control.” —From The Decline of American Power

The United States in decline? Its admirers and detractors alike claim the opposite: that America is now in a position of unprecedented global supremacy. But in fact, Immanuel Wallerstein argues, a more nuanced evaluation of recent history reveals that America has been fading as a global power since the end of the Vietnam War, and its response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 looks certain to hasten that decline. In this provocative collection, the visionary originator of world-systems analysis and the most innovative social scientist of his generation turns a practiced analytical eye to the turbulent beginnings of the 21st century. Touching on globalization, Islam, racism, democracy, intellectuals, and the state of the Left, Wallerstein upends conventional wisdom to produce a clear-eyed—and troubling—assessment of the crumbling international order.


“[Wallerstein’s thought] provides a new framework for the subject of European history . . . it is compelling, a new explanation, a new classification, indeed a revolutionary one, of received knowledge and current thought.”
—Fernand Braudel
“Lucid, informed, and insightful.”
The New York Times

Books by Immanuel Wallerstein

Or, Historical Choices of the Twenty-first Century

Immanuel Wallerstein

The Essential Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein

After Liberalism

Immanuel Wallerstein

European Universalism
The Rhetoric of Power

Immanuel Wallerstein

Goodreads Reviews