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


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

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