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The article seeks to explore America’s great swings of fortune and their meaning. It begins with a discussion of Paul Kennedy, possibly the greatest theorist of American decline. It continues with a few reflections on the implications of unipolarity and the degree to which the idea of an almost permanent unipolar moment easily segued into a new imperialist strategy under President G.W. Bush. It then discusses the new decline debate. Finally, it concludes with some reflections about the role of the United States in the world order. The thesis advanced may not be especially original. But it is critically important insofar as it argues that whatever challenges the United States currently faces – and they are serious and real – there is, in the final analysis, no real alternative to the United States as global leader.