There’s a strong tendency among Americans—and my students are no exception—to simply take for granted as a core belief that America is “Number 1” in the world. That’s not always true, as they often discover (unless they refuse to, which they often do) when faced with evidence. But now more than ever, such blind belief in America’s invincibility is dangerous. The surest way for a great power to decline into irrelevance is to do nothing to correct its course. But that requires: (a) diagnosing the problem correctly, (b) critically evaluating the options, and (c) understanding how to implement new policies in effective ways.
And that’s why comparative politics is more relevant than ever.