The impacts of economic up- and down-swings on International Relations are hard to measure empirically, but they definitely exist. When the US is riding high, it has a great amount of leverage. When the economy starts to stall, we lose some of that leverage, both because we don’t have quite as many resources to spend outside our borders and because other nations begin to feel like they have the upper hand at the negotiating table. Our other advantages on the world stage have kept us dominant in hard times up till now – but that might change, if we continue to let our advantages slip away, relative to the other players at the table.
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