An Evolving Global Order
The demise of Soviet power was described correctly as "one of the most abrupt realignments of political, military, and economic power in modern history."1 The international order is evolving from the bipolar construct that dominated the world for more than 40 years into a truly multi-polar system, with power diffusing toward Western Europe, Japan, and the United States.
Within this new system, only the United States is a "complete superpower"—with its military, economic, political, and cultural influence felt throughout the world. As General Colin Powell, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in a 1992 interview:
The United States is clearly the leader of the democratic world now, both the West and East. They look to us because they can trust us…because of our democratic political system, which seeks no foreign territory, which seeks not to subjugate anyone else. They look to us because we have an armed force second to none and we have the ability to use that armed force to deal with political problems that arise in a careful way.2