Why has the United States, the world’s premier military and economic power, struggled recently to achieve its foreign policy desiderata? How might America’s leaders reconsider the application of power for a world of asymmetric and unconventional threats? In his new book, Power and Complacency: American Survival in an Age of International Competition (Potomac Books, 2021), American Enterprise Institute Visiting Fellow Philip Lohaus explores the roots of America’s “efficacy deficit” and offers recommendations for how the United States can ensure a favorable place on an increasingly crowded global stage.
Lohaus argues that the American way of competition, rooted in a black-and-white approach to conflict and an overreliance on technology, impedes effectiveness in the amorphous landscape of the 21st-century conflict. By tracing the geographic and historical development of the United States, China, Russia, and Iran, Lohaus shows that America’s principal competitors have developed more dynamic approaches to competition and conflict outside of warfare. Unless the United States adapts, Lohaus writes, it will find itself on the path to decline.
Before joining the American Enterprise Institute, Lohus previously served as an Intelligence Analyst in the US Department of Defense, where he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a Reserve Officer in the US Navy.
John Sakellariadis is a 2021-2022 Fulbright US Student Research Grantee. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Literature from Harvard University.