Dunn and McClelland, 13 – Professor of International Politics and Head of the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham AND Associate Director for North America at the risk analytics consultancy Maplecroft in charge of energy policy (David and Mark, “Shale gas and the revival of American power: debunking decline?,” The Royal Institute of International Affairs, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-2346.12081/abstract)//eek
There are arguments for the continued endurance of the Pax Americana other than the specific potential of US oil and gas reserves to revivify the material base of American power. According to Cox, there are three central grounds for reservations over whether a power shift from Washington to Beijing is actually occurring. First, economics has been too easily conflated with power. Second, the West still retains more structural advantages and assets than commonly acknowledged. Third, China’s rise is likely to prompt the United States to retain an enduring military presence in East Asia and lead other Asian powers to retain strong alliances with the United States to constrain China’s freedom of action in foreign affairs. Similar themes have also been highlighted by Nye, who argues that the link between economic growth and actual power in terms of the ability to attain desired outcomes has been overstated. The United States also retains an enormous military advantage over China, in addition to a significant reservoir of soft power on which it can draw. For Nye, the question is not so much whether America is in decline—he argues there is a ‘reasonable probability’ that the United States will remain the most powerful state for decades—as whether it can successfully wield ‘smart power’ to achieve its goals.14 With Cox and Nye as a useful introduction, arguments countering notions of American decline can broadly be grouped around three themes. The first, drawing on aspects of liberal internationalist thought, is that American power is not simply a crude reflection of its material strength. The second is that Chinese material strength, both economic and military, has been exaggerated and weaknesses all too frequently glossed over. The third is that American economic power has been underestimated, with temporary setbacks to economic growth in recent years presented as fundamental, masking the under lying robustness of the US economy. It is in the context of this theme that the revival of the energy landscape in the United States will be considered below.