The LSE IDEAS United States International Affairs Programme focuses on how the United States acts in the world, and in particular, the structural role of the United States in the current international system. How should we characterise the United States’ international role: as a superpower, a hyperpower, a hegemon, or an empire? Crucially, what is the relationship between the United States and the international system itself, and how do emerging trends in international norms, regulation and governance both reflect and impact the United States?

In taking this systemic approach to the role of the United States, the programme’s research seeks to move beyond the traditional distinction between 'hard' and 'soft' power and instead offer a more holistic understanding of American power, paying particular attention to the structural forces that underpin the United States’ global role. This deeper structural focus offers a new understanding of why in a rapidly evolving international system the United States will remain an indispensable global power.