A Bipolar America and a Tripolar Triangle
In 1990, as the USSR was clearly falling apart, Charles Krauthammer wrote an influential essay called the Unipolar Moment. It made the point that with the Cold War at an end, the US was the sole dominant power on the planet, and would be for roughly a generation, after which point “multipolarity will come in time.”116 This thesis held up well: unipolarity was true in the 1990s, mostly true117 in the 2000s, much less true with the rise of Asia, technology, and American polarization in the 2010s, and no longer true in the 2020s.
As of 2022, we no longer have a unipolar world. Nor is it just ambiguously multipolar, with an unspecified number of power centers. Instead, we have a bipolar America and a tripolar triangle. And we can visualize these poles as follows: