Epilogue: The End of the ‘American Century’?

David Ellwood

in The Shock of America

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780198228790
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741739 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of Modern Europe

Epilogue: The End of the ‘American Century’?

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This chapter looks at the decade of the 2000s: from 9/11 to the triumph of Obama, from the Iraq war to the financial crisis of 2008; the fall from grace of America's models of modernity (except Silicon Valley and Hollywood); Europe from place-holder for critics of Bush foreign policy to discredited source of alternatives; the re-assertion of identity politics, and the unwitting role of America in dividing Europeans: the British governments so anxious to adopt American patterns of renewal, the French so keen to assert an alternative tradition and view of the world, the rest at various places in between; Obama's election as a moment of redemption in many European eyes (not all), in spite of his many lines of continuity with traditional American views of the world's progress, especially those linking democracy and liberty to economic growth under free-market capitalism.

Keywords: 9/11; Iraq War; George W Bush; Barack Obama; Lisbon Agenda; Americanization; anti-Americanism; identity politics

Chapter.  14352 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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