U.S. officials and national security experts chronically exaggerate foreign threats, suggesting that the world is scarier and more dangerous than ever. But that is just not true. From the U.S. perspective, at least, the world today is remarkably secure, and Washington needs a foreign policy that reflects that reality.
Now, more than ever, the United States might be tempted to pull back from the world. That would be a mistake, since an engaged grand strategy has served the country exceptionally well for the past six decades -- helping prevent the outbreak of conflict in the world’s most important regions, keeping the global economy humming, and facilitating international cooperation.
WHEN the Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset, finished his lecture before an American audience at Aspen, Colorado, in 1949, the great German scholar Ernst Robert Curtius pointed to him and said: "There you have the Mediterranean and a country that ruled the world." The remark is worth keeping in mind when one thinks of Spain. I don't mean, of course, that Spain has preserved any of her former power or that she will regain it in the future. But a country which ruled the world--so few did--must have some features that are not likely to vanish into thin air.