Harvard professor Joseph Nye, well known for his explorations of soft power, considers the American prospect in his newly published book, Is the American Century Over? His answer is a carefully constructed "No," which is based partly on the fact that there is no logical successor to convincingly claim dominance over the next century.
Seventy-three years ago, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to "create the first great American Century." No one today could claim that this is Time's century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else's. Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans.
Over the years, many people have counted out the United States -- and been wrong. Given our newfound energy wealth, the return of manufacturing, our tradition of creativity and our vaults filled with investable capital, I can't help but believe the people counting us out now will be proved wrong again.