The term doesn’t capture today’s reality.
Finally and most perilous, a great-power competition frame risks forfeiting the immense power that comes from heading a largely aligned group of rule-following states. The United States is already showing signs that it no longer values its role as leader of the international order it has shaped since the end of World War II. If Washington thinks of itself as one desperate, self-interested geopolitical chess player among many, grasping for temporary and transactional advantages, that role will likely further diminish. The United States would do far better to continue leading the group of nations that holds the predominant share of global economic and military power, is bound together by a dense network of institutions, and remains committed to certain norms, such as those against military aggression and economic predation. To abandon this role would be to walk away from the greatest competitive advantage any great power has ever known.