Americans have always turned inward, into an awareness of themselves as a people-their provenance, their image in history, their mission in the world. Lately this self-awareness has taken on overtones of a sense of being at the end of the tether, a mordant feeling of disintegration and decay. In the early Republic, American nationalist identity had a healthy, assertive braggadocio about it, which seems to be replaced by a Hamlet-like loss of self-confidence, with an apocalyptic sense of doom for the civilization. On the Right it embodies a conviction that the sensate culture is pushing the society down the Gaderene slope of drugs-and-fornication to destruction. On the Left there is the vague sense that America is imperialist, fascist-oriented, caught in inner contradictions of class and ethnic struggles which will end in self-destructive wars or civil chaos.

This mood must be taken seriously as part of the image that America offers the world, especially since-as a Latin saw once put it-imaginatio facit casum: the imagination creates the event. The image most nations get of America has been largely screened and distorted by a subjective press and media elites ready to think the worst of America. It has included the convulsions and confrontations of the 1960s, the hippie culture, the squalor and bombings of the Vietnam War, the corruption of Watergate. The judgment around the world-that America was coming apart as she moved, ironically, very close to her bicentenary of 1976-has been reinforced by a self-image filled with self-pity and self-hatred.

How valid is the idea of America's decline and fall? Here the best wisdom is Blake's: "God us keep/From single vision and Newton's sleep." The single vision-whether of indictment or apologia-is the enemy. Every civilization has had its inherent discontents, but none has been as flamboyantly displayed as the American, in part because America is a goldfish bowl, even more because her mammoth outer power and technology contrast with her loss of confidence. As an inveterate civilization-watcher over the past four decades, I do not find America static, rigid, energy-exhausted or secretive about her dolors. I find instead an America whose dynamism has accelerated rather than slowed down, whose self-criticism-compounded perhaps of Catholic guilt, the Protestant tradition of dissent, and the Jewish passion for justice-remains unabated, and whose energies are more explosive and innovative than ever.

The sense of insoluble problems, characteristic of the "time of troubles" in any civilization, was more pervasive in the 1960s than it is in the decelerating 1970s. The past decade has seen a breakdown of megalopolis (unlivable, ungovernable), an apparent metastasis of crime and drugs, sustained ethnic rages, campus seizures and disruptions, widespread alienation, apocalyptic fears about the consequences of economic and population growth, the sense of corporate-bureaucratic gigantism, anti-authority turmoil within the armed forces, the dramatizing of the angry classroom and the angry courtroom, the fear that the impersonal computer would blot out all personal identity, the fragmenting and polarizing of institutions (family, neighborhood, university, church, nation)-in short, the overloading of the social nervous system by sudden accelerations of change.

The most intense decade of accelerative-as distinguished from subversive-social revolution in American history carried social costs along with it. Yet what America got from the whole process was more than worth the cost. It gave more people better access to equal chances for an equal life. It gave American women a sharper sense of identity, and the feeling that the gap between social rhetoric and actualities could be narrowed for them as it has been for ethnic minorities. It showed that technology could be used to cure the scars and pollutions it had largely caused, and that the reckless pace of economic and population growth could be leveled out and kept within limits. It brought with it new countercultural life-styles and values.

Above all, it showed that American society was not too rigid to survive, unlike the prehistoric animals who couldn't adapt to necessary changes in their life systems. It was the despair of hard-core revolutionaries to note how flexibly Americans coöpted the changes they could live with, making them part of the going society while rejecting those that might destroy the social organism.

When faced by inner challenges, civilizations must not only incorporate what they can of the challenge, but also set inner limits of resistance to what they cannot absorb. This mixture of flexibility and inner limits, of acquiescence and resistance, is one of the toughest life formulae for a people to achieve. As America emerged from the accelerations of the 1960s into the decelerations of the 1970s, it was a good guess that the people themselves would decide what the outcome of the great social revolutions of the 1960s would be. This, Rome did not have-either the accelerations, or the resistances and decelerations.

On her way to the forum of her bicentenary, something happened to America. Finally she encountered a Dante-esque lion in the path-Watergate-which shifted attention to the political-constitutional crisis of the American imperium.


There have been a spate of books on the theme that America's global position is in decline, but none with the learning or depth of Brooks Adams' great book on the mounting American economic empire at the turn of the century. The time may not be ripe, nor the perspectives sharply enough defined, to usher America out of global history as Adams ushered her in.

The problem is illustrated by Arthur Krock's "visceral feeling" that "America's tenure of world power will be the shortest-lived of all." We have grown accustomed to think of the "tenure of world power" as a succession of historic hegemonies, from Babylon, Persia and Alexander's Hellenistic empire to today. But the current global realities bear no more resemblance to dynastic European politics from Rome to Napoleon than the internal realities of an imperial democracy like America resemble the administration of the Sun King at seventeenth-century Versailles. Some scholars and commentators, and perhaps some Foreign Offices, still seem to think in terms of the rise and decline of a single hegemony. It is an archaism I tried to counter a decade ago, with little effect.1

Those who write elegies over the end of American global power fail to distinguish between imperium (a power mass) and imperialism (the expansionist thrust), a distinction which parallels Santayana's between "powers" and "dominations." A hegemonial domination like the Pax Romana, or Henry Luce's vision of an "American century," has been made archaic by nuclear weapons, political warfare, the technology of instant communication, an interdependent global economy, and even the incipient rise of a world community of conscience.

This doesn't mean that competitive struggle within the pentagon of the great powers can be written off: in fact, along with détente, the moves and countermoves of the great powers in vying for allies, prestige, credibility, and access to resources have become the essence of global politics. But however perilous and unstable the present arrangement, teetering always on the edge of holocaust, it does not allow for hegemonial domination except as an apocalyptic form of adventurism to be answered by a universal entropy-if not by other great powers. Massive imperialist interventions-be they American or Russian-are no longer viable. But neither are the current forms of neo-isolationism or neo-quietism.

True, America no longer holds-if she ever held-the world supremacy she was presumed to have after World War II, under Truman and Eisenhower. But a reading of the political-diplomatic memoirs of that period recalls the fears and defensiveness American policy-makers felt about containing Soviet expansionism and the rise of Chinese Communist power. What dominance America held was more by reason of the wartime battering of Europe and Russia and the early monopoly of the bomb than by some assertive vigor or high wisdom from which she has fallen away.

We remember Bretton Woods and the Marshall Plan as high points in a creative foreign policy. We tend to forget the Truman-Stalin and Eisenhower-Khrushchev duels, the bomb-shelter hysteria, the harassment of Nixon in Latin America, the U-2 fiasco, the cancelling of the Eisenhower trip to Japan. Nor do we note the role played by the American conscience, as expressed in the media and the universities, which set a far higher standard for America's conduct than for her rivals. The consequence is that America has led the world in hunting down imperialism, but if the chase has a beast in view it usually turns out to be America herself, which is at once hound and quarry, pursuer and pursued.

My hunch is that the Golden Age was not nearly as golden nor is the present one as leaden as portrayed. If there has been a decline in the American position, the indices of production fail to show it; nor do those of research and development, nor of scientific creativeness. Yet these are the rock on which the church of any imperium must be built.

The contrivance of the multinational corporation must be seen-with all its vulnerabilities-as an act of economic resourcefulness in cutting through the restraining bounds of the nation-state. It has become a characteristic form of the American imperium, far more so than aircraft carriers or marines or the sale of weaponry. The multinational tends to weaken the balance-of-payments picture and thus America's dollar position, and it has at times, to use Raymond Vernon's term, held "sovereignties at bay," and furnished a target for anti-American feelings. But other advanced industrial nations have taken over this American institution to further their own bargaining position, and in autos, oil, aluminum and other industries there has been, in effect, an exchange of hostages to assure fair treatment for the multinationals of both sides.

What has happened is not so much the decline of American power as the proliferation of all forms of global power, and its reshaping into a new Gestalt. If this is true of the multinational corporation, it is true also of the trading and monetary interdependence of nations. The dollar is weak in part because of the thinning out of the work ethic and the distention of the consumer ethic, but also in part because the new free movements of capital seek small marginal advantages which instant communication makes possible in the new global capital market.

The "energy crisis" of the Western world is also an outgrowth of this interdependence. The effort of the Arab oil-producing states to use the "oil weapon" as the prime coercive factor in influencing American policy-making in the Middle East will have some short-term victories. But, in the end, the food production, technology, and the scientific inventiveness of free societies should make them resourceful enough to resolve the impasse without any energy Munichs.

A giant with feet of clay? Yes, in the sense that all the great powers are such giants today, because somewhere in their tangled needs there are vulnerable areas that make isolation or autonomy impossible. A political elite that has its blind spots and has made its blunders? Yes, decidedly. A rigid elite, incapable of learning from its blunders and transforming its policies? No, decidedly not. An innovative giant, for all his faults, capable of taking the lead in peace initiatives and of a more scrupulous perception of the global realities? Yes, I think so.

I have set down this litany of questions and responses in order to get at the real rather than fancied weaknesses and strengths of the American imperium. The Truman-Marshall-Acheson policies had a generous creativeness along with their tough-mindedness. NATO and the Marshall Plan were models in their convergence of the idea of power with the power of ideas. But, later, the anti-Munich idea became a distortion of perceived reality-a good idea at the wrong time, in the wrong place-exerting a tyranny over the minds of intelligent, otherwise pragmatic men.

The test of the Nixon-Kissinger odd-couple "new diplomacy" will similarly come on the issue of perceived reality. This was no mean, grudging change of direction under duress. Nor was it a utopian fantasy trip, or, for that matter, an opportunistic volte-face dictated mainly by electoral advantage at home. It was a large initiative, largely conceived, and-at least thus far-shrewdly worked out within the framework of détente. The idea of linked national interests, and of linked concessions and gains within the frame of an equilibrium of power, goes back to the beginnings of modern diplomacy, but is also as new as the latest evidence that the world is interdependent and that world order is more crucial than any nation's dominance.

What has thus far been achieved mostly by personal diplomacy will now, as Kissinger knows, have to be institutionalized. In the end it will have to be constitutionalized. It is a large order, and may fail. But what alternatives do the great powers or the rest of the world have?

What counts for America is not whether the hegemony still belongs to her or has shrunk, but the fact that from Marshall to Kissinger, she has generally had a clear perception of operative world realities, and made such a perception persuasive. Which is something scarcely within the ambit of an imperium in decline.


The United States is currently in the grip of an anguished constitutional crisis, focusing on the nature and powers of the Presidency in an imperial democracy. In immediate terms the crisis was evoked by the Watergate cabal and the question of President Nixon's complicity in it. In broader terms it was long overdue-foreshadowed by the confrontation between Franklin Roosevelt and the Supreme Court 40 years ago, when he broke the Court's resistance to New Deal legislation but foundered in Congress on his "Court-packing" plan.

In a Spenglerian book on America, Amaury de Riencourt spoke of "the coming Caesars." The thrust of American history in the twentieth century, since "the other Roosevelt"-T.R.-has been toward concentrating enough powers in the Presidency to make it an effective instrument for internal reforms and for mastery of foreign crises. Hence, all through this century it has been, in Arthur Schlesinger's phrase, an "imperial Presidency," and the irony is that the liberal intellectuals who backed imperial presidential power from the first Roosevelt and Wilson to Kennedy are now foremost among the hounds of God in the necessary pursuit of Richard Nixon's inflated presidential power.

To speak of presidential Caesarism is to invoke again a blurred America-Rome parallel. As compared with heads of parliamentary governments, the American President has quasi-monarchical powers, especially in foreign policy. But in some ways, as Louis Heren has argued, it is a feudal monarchy, with the President riding herd on a number of rival baronies-Congress, the courts, the governors, the corporate and trade-union barons, the university elites, the government agencies, the media. The problem is not one of breaking the American Constitution, as Caesar broke the Roman, in order to reign with plenary powers, but one of using the assigned and inherent powers with skill enough to rule effectively.

The men who had these skills, from Washington, Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln on, constitute, in Emmet Hughes' phrase, the "living Presidency," using the living Constitution to give leadership to a viable civilization. To list Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon in our own century-all formidable Presidents, whatever their faults-is to understand that the presidential office is more vital, not less, than in any comparable period of the Republic. How far a cry this is from Caesar and Augustus and the emperors who followed them, who came because the Republic had developed neither effective crisis leadership nor effective constitutional or popular checks upon it.

The quality of the American Presidency is as much personal as institutional, as much a matter of moral leadership and credibility as of power. It depends on the quality of the Presidents-their ability, their character-which is why psycho-history and the politics of personality have emerged as a new academic discipline. In a time of global turmoil, and in a society as deeply pluralist and fragmented as the American, a merely negative approach to presidential powers would be disastrous to the chances of getting unified action. It makes sense to take inventory of how and in what ways the presidential power has metastasized, to hold the President to accountability for his actions, to hedge his war powers sanely within a frame of congressional assent or dissent. But it makes little sense to expect a great civilization to find leadership in a weak Presidency. Let the office be adequate and ample, let a delicate balance be struck between presidential and congressional power, let fences be built strong enough to keep arrogance, ambition or the psychic strains and scars of office from breaking through them-and the chances of Caesarism diminish, although they can never be wholly written off.

The Watergate excesses were the upshot of a long process of power expansion, but they were potential rather than inherent in the system. The heart of it was a White House praetorian guard, with whom a self-isolating President felt safe, and who further isolated him from the perception of the moral realities outside. While there will always be a probing for the farther reaches of admissible power, another Watergate-while not impossible-is highly unlikely. Its exposure, like the good news of damnation, is self-limiting rather than self-accelerating.

Note also how the Watergate story violated the myth that located the dangers to freedom in the military-industrial complex. How many have been the suspense-intrigue novels in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff plot with the intelligence services-with a couple of Midwest industrialists thrown in-to seize power from constitutional hands and set up a dictatorship! Alas for all such beautifully laid out versions of the history of the future, what actually happened didn't follow the pattern. The military totally, and the intelligence services with negligible exceptions, stayed away from the over-devious, badly bungled operation. One of the striking facts about the American power structure since MacArthur is how politically neutral the military elite has remained.

One must ask how a group of conservatives, professing to believe in the traditional value structure, got themselves entangled in so devious a web. This was not the traditional venality: they had money all around them, coming out of their ears. It was a deep corruption of power, all the worse because it was done by men who were convinced patriots and who felt justified because they felt surrounded by enemies of the national security.

It is in this aspect that the real danger may lurk in an imperial democracy. The policy-shapers, presumably privy to intelligence secrets, came to feel that they could guard the national security against its inner enemies-wittingly or unwittingly allied with the foreign ones-only by covert and illegal means. The palace guard was not only reacting to the excesses accompanying social changes in the 1960s, but to the lethal gamesmanship involved in global politics between ideological and nuclear rivals.

In the end the tracking down of the cabal and its attempted cover-up has convulsed the nation in the most serious constitutional crisis since the Civil War and Reconstruction. Milton saw Samson Agonistes as wrestling with the pillars of the Temple and with himself. One may speak of America Agonistes too, but the wrestling is within the deepest parts of the nation's self, not to bring down the pillars of the constitutional temple but to affirm and strengthen them.

For all their anguish the people have done exactly that. There was a three-pronged attack on the conspiracy: through the investigative press, through the Senate Committee of inquiry, through the judicial process. We shall always have efforts at domination, not only in politics but in every area of our lives. One of the tests of a civilization is whether it can bring even the ugly ones-which mock all the human decencies and make life itself nasty, brutish and unsafe-under the control of law. The scrutiny of constitutional principles and safeguards, the search for the nature and limits of power itself, the passage or study of legislation on war powers and on the financing of campaigns-these are signs of health, not sickness. They attest the truth of Tocqueville's great insight-that Americans make blunders but that they have a self-corrective capacity to learn from their experience.


Along with debt, welfarism, and the pressure on the outposts of empire, what stands out most vividly in the modern mind when it draws the America-Rome parallel is erotic decadence, not only in itself but as evidence of the dissolution of moral standards and of social institutions. Much of the discussion over current sexual behavior in America takes on an emotional intensity largely from the psycho-sexual overtones that go with the moralizing judgments. There is no disputing the facts about changing behavior, as attested by countless surveys and research in the past quarter-century, from Alfred Kinsey's first coded interviews in the late 1940s to the current laboratory research of Masters and Johnson. What is disputable is how deep the "facts" go and what the figures mean.

My own tentative conclusions, after several decades of concern with the studies, are that there have been greater shifts in knowledge and attitudes about sexuality than in actual behavior, although the latter have been substantial; that part of the shifts of attitude is the result of social pressures toward conformity-this time not from elders, neighbors and community but from peer-groups, and directed toward conforming to freer codes rather than toward formal codes; that the carrier groups of change in the 1930s and 1940s were the avant-garde and college-educated, but that since the Kinsey era the gap between them and the blue-collar and rural groups has been narrowed. The earlier revolutions are now reaching across the income and education spans; the changes have become sharper and more pervasive among women than men, perhaps because the double standard is dissolving; premarital and extramarital sexuality are now widely accepted by most groups, although in the "heartland America" groups (a class and attitude rather than geographical concept) there is a "provided-love-is-present" qualification; traditional forms of deviance are regarded with greater tolerance; the "open marriage," communal arrangements, and commitment pair-bonds without marriage have gained ground. To sum up, the dissociation of sexuality from love, prevalent in all societies and ages, is now taking a different form from the more repressed period; where once the danger was love without sex, it is now sex without love, but there is far less danger of a life-history without either sex or love.

Does all this bear on the viability of the civilization? I think it does. Civilizations die not only of rigidity, failure to meet challenges, constitutional breakdown. They may also die of deep alienations and the erosion of crucial institutions. If America is indeed a sick society, as so often charged, she will show herself in these alienations, erosions, broken connections, incapacities to relate or be committed to others. The way in which Eros functions in a society may be an important-if not the prime-symbol of the sickness or health of the society.

Historians have sometimes assigned Rome's decay, much as Cato and Juvenal did, to its sexual decadence. One theory has it that sexual cynicism and dissoluteness led to the falling birthrate and the depopulation of the traditional aristocracy and the upper-middle class of equites, which the Julian Laws of Augustus were ineffectual to remedy. But there are historians who put it the other way around-not that the loosening of sexual standards led to the sickness of the society, but that the sexual decadence itself came out of a wider loosening of social ties and a breakdown of institutions.

I should myself say that the two processes were linked and fed one another. Moreover, whatever the outward similarities, the inner differences between the functioning of Eros in Rome and in America are more striking. In America erotic breakthroughs have been part of larger revolutionary movements. The long historical thrust has not been the search for new sensations, although that is part of it, but the search for freedoms. In the 1840s and 1850s, the demands for greater freedom of sexuality went along with the struggle for workers' rights ("free labor"), abolitionism ("free soil"), public education ("free schools"), women's equality, and for human as against property rights (including Socialist and anarchist movements).

Much the same linkage applied in the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s, and even more strikingly in the 1950s and 1960s, when the erotic revolutions were part of the wider accelerations of willed social change. The two great facets of the movements of the 1960s were a broadly political activism and a broadly erotic cultural ("counter-culture") revolution. They drew on common liberating energies in the society, and were basically in competition for those energies and for the fealty of the young. One of the slogans of the mid-1960s-the "politicizing of hip" (i.e. of the erotic)-was matched by a late-1960s slogan-the "eroticizing of politics."

Of the two movements, it is the cultural that has proved more lasting. Where the activisms of ghetto and campus have sharply decelerated, the "human potential" (or "awareness") movement, "growth centers," the "new naturalism" among the young, and especially the movements for women's identity and equality continue to flourish. There is charlatanism as well as excess in all of them, and there is an aspect of the current sexuality which makes it at once too casual and too sexually goal-centered, and thus in both cases desensitized and mechanical. But the other, more sensitive direction is there as well, and-as compared with the Roman case-far more strongly.

The more meaningful thrust, in the erotic consciousness of America today, as in the historical movements, is toward ways of loving and relating more completely, and of living more completely. Where Roman sexuality got almost wholly dissociated from feeling and love, the pursuit of Eros in America has been part of the pursuit of happiness and the hunger for wholeness and belief. This links Eros with ethos, which is where it belongs.

No, the greater danger to America's viability has come not from the erotic but from life-denying distortions and constrictions of institutions which have undercut belief. There has been an erosion of authority which is far more dangerous to the American future than any decline of power-a set of uprootings from the past, a dissolving of ties to family and nation, a breaking of connections. More recently, especially on the campuses, there have been signs of a return to family, career, religion. But the return seems to be cyclical rather than circular, with a strong infusion of the simplicity, directness and naturalism which marked the changing life-styles and the challenger values of the young. The generational distance of the 1960s has also narrowed, and with the current détente between the generations there may be, as the next phase, a chance for a synthesis of values which will reject the uprooted, uptight, and far-out values of both the traditional and challenger ethos, and stress the rooted values of both.


There is a new academic discipline in America, the comparative study of civilizations, which is at once a mark of concern and a focus on possibility. My own stress is on studying the crucial factors in the death of past civilizations, and using them to put questions concerning American directions. To start with, the rigidity which marked a number of declines and falls is only minimally present in America, with her cult of change and her experience of social and cultural revolution. The failure to meet challenges, which also marked some past civilizations, including the Greek and Roman "failure of nerve," is unlikely to be decisive with the American. In the crunch, America has met both outer and inner challenges, although at a high cost.

True, this capacity to respond depends, as has been suggested, on keeping a competitive keenness in global relations and negotiations, and the competition produces strain and tension. But America need not therefore get stuck either with an arid, militaristic nationalism or with a "Little America" syndrome much like the "Little England" movement in the past century. There is a deep feeling, and not only among liberals, that weaponry for nationalism is less effectual as well as less creative than some of the current moves toward transnational action and a global moral consensus. There is also a deep feeling, and not only in heartland America, that America cannot maintain a great inner civilization if she opts out, or gets thrust out, from the great initiatives in global relations that can come only with a strong base of power and authority. One does not need to go as far as Nietzsche's remark in his essay on Greek education, that "every talent must unfold itself in fighting." But if one substituted "meaningful struggle" for "fighting," then it would express a crucial continuing element in the American character.

The usual parallels with Rome are superficial. Rome, like America, was a great energy system at the height of its vitality. But where Rome died of an exhaustion of energies, America is more likely to die of the explosiveness of her energies. America came out of a series of great revolutions-the constitutional and social revolutions of England and the Continent. Rome did not. When the Roman founding class and tradition were fragmented, Rome had little to put in their place, except for the freedmen and the foreign legionnaires. America was from the start settled and peopled from every stock and culture, by strains of migration which formed a tolerable amalgam and are reasserting a healthy sense of ethnic identity. Rome was threatened by the barbarians from without, and eventually succumbed to them. America has been continuously re-barbarized from within by the social mobility which has produced a circulation of elites.

In Rome there were ancestral voices prophesying doom. In America the doomsayers are largely among the intellectual elites, whose passion is to renew the early American dream by social transformations, and who have formed an Establishment of their own to rival that of the ancestors. Rome's constitutional tradition was too easily broken. America's constitutionalism has remained strong against the inevitable concentrations and corruptions of power which contain potential Caesarism.

Rome conquered and annexed vast parts of the known world from a narrow resource and population base in Italy. America started with a large potential continental base, filled it out, and has no need for the combination of occupying armies, law, and imperial administration on which the Roman Empire depended. Thus, the American angel has never ceased to look homeward, despite all his foreign wanderings. Rome was debilitated by having no imperial rivals. America has at least four today, in various stages of power growth, with others on the distant horizon.

Like Rome, America has used up both her heroes and her myths, in a process of demythologizing that is part of the price of excessive rationalism of institutions. But here, too, the awareness of this process can bring with it a self-corrective search for heroes and myths that will form a continuum with the human experience of America and mankind. Finally, when the Romans could no longer believe much in their gods, they turned to strange, mutilating cult-gods in a frenzy of masochism. The American god-search has fused with a values-search, and that, in turn, has been infused with religious overtones, in the sense of straining for the realities beyond appearance and experience. When the original Roman value systems dissolved, there was nothing to take their place. When the traditional American values began to lose meaning, there were challenger values to test their strength, weed out the constricted, and possibly replace a life-denying strain by a life-affirming one. If this can be done, then the often empty and destructive impulses of American life may in time be transformed into the synergy, as Ruth Benedict used the term, of energies that flow together instead of dissonantly.

Whether America is in fact a dying civilization is a too portentous question. There is no answer in absolutes, whether yes or no. The answer I cherish is from the Gershwin songs in Porgy and Bess: "De t'ings dat yo' li'ble / To read in de Bible, / It ain't necessarily so." There are no inevitabilities, whether of decay or renewal. But if there is renewal it will have to come from awareness, flexibility, a sense of confidence, inner strength, and a common belief-from intelligence and values, and from a will that comes to prevail in the American people.


1 See The Age of Overkill: A Preface to World Politics, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now