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Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest

U.S. President George W. Bush listens to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice speak after he nominated her to replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State, November 16, 2004. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

LIFE AFTER THE COLD WAR

The United States has found it exceedingly difficult to define its "national interest" in the absence of Soviet power. That we do not know how to think about what follows the U.S.-Soviet confrontation is clear from the continued references to the "post-Cold War period." Yet such periods of transition are important, because they offer strategic opportunities. During these fluid times, one can affect the shape of the world to come.

The enormity of the moment is obvious. The Soviet Union was more than just a traditional global competitor; it strove to lead a universal socialist alternative to markets and democracy. The Soviet Union quarantined itself and many often-unwitting captives and clients from the rigors of international capitalism. In the end, it sowed the seeds of its own destruction, becoming in isolation an economic and technological dinosaur.

But this is only part of the

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