America is the Indispensable Nation

Robert Kagan has an incisive January 15, 2006 article at the Washington Post which everyone, especially in Europe, should read. In Still the Colossus

Kagan writes:

The striking thing about the present international situation is the degree to which America remains what Bill Clinton once called ‘the indispensable nation.’ Despite global opinion polls registering broad hostility to George W. Bush’s United States, the behavior of governments and political leaders suggests America’s position in the world is not all that different from what it was before Sept. 11 and the Iraq war.

The much-anticipated global effort to balance against American hegemony — which the realists have been anticipating for more than 15 years now — has simply not occurred. On the contrary, in Europe the idea has all but vanished. European Union defense budgets continue their steady decline, and even the project of creating a common foreign and defense policy has slowed if not stalled. Both trends are primarily the result of internal European politics. But if they really feared American power, Europeans would be taking more urgent steps to strengthen the European Union’s hand to check it