Walt ‘2 (Stein, Professor of international affairs at Harvard, American Primacy, http://www.nwc .navy.mil/press/review/2002/spring/art1-sp2.htm))
Perhaps the most obvious reason why states seek primacy—and why the United States benefits from its current position—is that international politics is a dangerous business. Being wealthier and stronger than other states does not guarantee that a state will survive, of course, and it cannot insulate a state from all outside pressures. But the strongest state is more likely to escape serious harm than weaker ones are, and it will be better equipped to resist the pressures that arise. Because the United States is so powerful, and because its society is so wealthy, it has ample resources to devote to whatever problems it may face in the future. At the beginning of the Cold War, for example, its power enabled the United States to help rebuild Europe and Japan, to assist them in developing stable democratic orders, and to subsidize the emergence of an open international economic order.7 The United States was also able to deploy powerful armed forces in Europe and Asia as effective deterrents to Soviet expansion. When the strategic importance of the Persian Gulf increased in the late 1970s, the United States created its Rapid Deployment Force in order to deter threats to the West’s oil supplies; in 1990–91 it used these capabilities to liberate Kuwait. Also, when the United States was attacked by the Al-Qaeda terrorist network in September 2001, it had the wherewithal to oust the network’s Taliban hosts and to compel broad international support for its campaign to eradicate Al-Qaeda itself. It would have been much harder to do any of these things if the United States had been weaker.