America's Missed Opportunities

Courtesy Reuters

A year ago America stood astride the world. Its troops were poised to lead an international coalition against Saddam Hussein, its president showed greater mastery over foreign affairs than any chief executive since Franklin D. Roosevelt and its prestige was soaring. In every quarter other nations acknowledged that the United States had emerged from the Cold War as the only functioning superpower and that the ideas it espoused were increasingly triumphant. An influential American columnist, Charles Krauthammer, wrote a year ago in this journal that a unipolar moment had arrived and that a confident United States should learn to accept its new role, aggressively imposing its own vision.

What a difference a recession makes. Few outside the White House talk anymore of creating a "new world order," unless in jest. The United States cannot achieve order in its streets or even in its capital, much less in the rest of

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