A t the beginning of the third millennium America was toall appearances supreme. Whether one measured American power by the size and dynamism of its economy, continuing attractiveness

to immigrants, the global spread of leading American consumer brands, the

ability to project military power and to wield political influence, the use of

the English language, the prevalence of American popular culture – in all

these categories American power was unmatched. Even the global preoc-

cupation with the theme of anti-Americanism told the same story of

American supremacy. Anti-Americanism was simply the other side of the

coin of America’s global power and success. It was regularly suggested by

commentators that American global influence was proportionately larger than

that of the great empires of the past – the Greek, Roman, and British. Indeed

one of the most popular themes among commentators both outside and

inside the United States was ‘American empire’. The world was now effec-

tively ‘unipolar’. American power might be resented but it was not seriously

contested by any other nation or grouping of nations.