All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power, Thomas J. Wright

Reviewed by Paul K. Macdonald



In an important and timely new book, Thomas J. Wright warns that the liberal international order is facing a deep and unprecedented crisis. The past five years have seen the “end of the era of convergence” and “the advent of a more nationalist and competitive world” (p. ix). Russian meddling in Ukraine, Chinese revisionism in the South China Sea, and the escalation of civil strife across the Middle East are signs of a new era of “high-stakes peacetime competition” in global politics (p. xii). Rather than reduce its international role or seek to accommodate its geopolitical rivals, the United States should pursue a strategy of “responsible competition” designed both to defend and to rebuild the liberal order (p. xiii).

Among the many virtues of this book are its clarity and precision. Wright draws on international relations theory where appropriate, but he does not burden his argument with picayune debates. He is also careful not to overstate his claims. He acknowledges that “there is contradictory evidence on China's intentions” (p. 71) while making the case that China seeks to carve out its own sphere of influence. He accepts that Russia is “locked into a long-term economic decline” (p. 51), yet he carefully explains how it is nevertheless “determined to use its hard power to rev

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


America at a Crossroads: The 2024 Presidential Election and Its Global Impact
April 24, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
New York, NY


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS