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A nation must think before it acts.
The most ferocious debates are about whether the United States should be described as imperial, but in practice other countries also try to influence other countries’ domestic policies, to propagate their visions, to exert power and to stabilize areas beyond their borders that are perceived as a source of threats. While in the 1990s the winners of globalization were seen as small open states, since the turn of the millennium big powers appear to be gaining because of their ability to project political power: the United States, but also China, Russia, India, and Brazil. This makes for a greater instability and leads to the formulation of theories of realism or neo-realism. The essay concludes with an examination of alternatives to empire and the neo-imperial vision, in particular the importance of elaboration of common or shared values in helping to build a safer and more peaceful international order.