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For the past 30 years, America has been playing a game of whack-a-mole, trying desperately to beat back any threats to its unipolar hegemony. But if recent reports are any indication, that game may soon be coming to a close. Whether or not that ending is a bad thing depends entirely on how American leaders proceed.

The announcement that BRICS—the loose alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, an answer of sorts to the G7—are about to expand has produced much teeth gnashing. The addition of Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Argentina has been portrayed by some as the end of American and Western hegemony. Brazil’s president declared that the world “will no longer be the same.” French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that the expansion was a threat to the Western order.

To be clear, the states being added to BRICS are no small fish: Saudi Arabia has long been a key American partner, and Iran has long been a serious American enemy. That they are both joining together in one organization is noteworthy. Likewise, Argentina’s addition may indicate the bloc is strengthening in South America. And there are many nations who are willing to join, from Indonesia to Algeria to Venezuela.

But there are many reasons to resist any teeth gnashing.

For starters, there is nothing inherently linking the core group members. The original name was coined by an economist who, in 2001, calculated that in 2050 those five countries would dominate the global economy. Today, such a prediction would almost seem farcical. While China and India are of course big players in the international arena, China’s growth is already beginning to slow down, and the notion that Russia or South Africa will be dominating the global economy in 30 years is almost silly.

Secondly, many of its members are friendly with the United States. Just because a state is now a BRICS member does not mean they will always be, nor does it mean that they have stabbed America in the back. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a close personal relationship with former President Donald Trump, as did former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who only just barely lost his re-election campaign. Likewise, while Argentina is currently led by the center-left, it may be about to elect a libertarian who has already declared his intention to withdraw from BRICS should he become president.

Thirdly, this is not a military organization; even if it was, as it is so spread out, it would be impossibly unwieldy. Instead, it is essentially a discussion forum. And with even more voices—some of whom, like Saudi Arabia, are not as opposed to the West as are, say, China and Russia—the impact of the group may very well be diluted by more membership, rendering it even less of a threat to the West.

But with this all said, expansion should not inherently be dismissed; with China leading the way, the group certainly is aimed at ending Western hegemony and very well could succeed in at least in heavily chipping away at it. However, one then has to consider the question: why, exactly, should America be concerned over losing hegemony?

Historically speaking, no nation in history has had the sort of hegemony America enjoys. Its potential impending loss of hegemony is frequently compared to the Roman Empire's loss of hegemony. But Rome’s hegemony was fundamentally different from America’s: while the empire did rule its world, its “world” was that of the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Any crack in its hegemony meant a literal crack in the empire.

Upon losing their hegemony, the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for another 900 years, for much of that time as a major regional power. While the loss of the British Empire’s hegemony post-World War II meant a severe decline of status, the tiny British Isles always depended upon its colonies for greatness; America has no such dependency. Plus, Britain’s hegemony never reached America’s extent, and was frequently challenged by France and then Germany—twice.

America losing hegemony is less of a decline and more of a reversion to reality, the end of an inflation. Realist scholars from Henry Kissinger on down have consistently argued that, generally, world order reacts against unipolarity. For 30 years America has desperately tried to taper down any challenges to its rule; it is only natural that eventually, those being tapered down would prefer having it another way.

The fact that America has benefited from the unipolar moment as long as it has is an historically unprecedented occurrence. But as that hegemony inevitably comes to an end, we can—instead of raging against the wind—manage the transition from a unipolar order to a multipolar order in a way which best suits us. The United States can maintain its borders and its security by ensuring anti-Americanism does not pervade Western Europe or East Asia in a sort of Monroe+ Doctrine. It could insist on the European Union truly integrating the defense capabilities of its member states. We can work to establish potential multipolar powers, like Japan or even Australia, as those who can stand on their own two feet, instead of trying to grab as much sand as possible, just to see it slip through our fingers.

The problem with playing whack-a-mole is that it is essentially unwinnable. Every game ends the same way: the time runs out. You can compare your score to others, but when it comes to states attempting to ensure their security, the impressiveness of such scores only matters in history books written decades or centuries after the fact. “Rome lasted for such a long time” was probably small comfort to those still living there when the barbarians were at the gates.

Which means America can desperately keep trying to batter down the moles—and in doing so, can fail to establish a security architecture for the coming multipolar world—or we can stop playing a losing game, face reality, and work on securing ourselves for the rest of the century.

Anthony J. Constantini is a Contributing Fellow at Defense Priorities.