Iran’s Crisis of Legitimacy
An Embattled Regime Faces Mass Protests—and an Ailing Supreme Leader
The collapse of communism has produced an unexpected result in the international order: the abolishment of superpower status itself, which proves to have been the product of superpower rivalry. Remove the rivalry and the category vanishes. Today there is not, as some argue, a single superpower, the United States; there are none.
The United States is thus deprived of the role that provided its national mission and self-justification for nearly a half-century. It finds itself compelled to reconsider not only what it must do but, in a significant respect, what it is. The assumptions that underlie its conduct of foreign relations are poorly adapted to the changed condition of international life; but, more important, thought is disoriented. This has been apparent in the Bush administration's diplomacy in the Persian Gulf crisis and in the president's difficulty in offering a coherent and convincing justification of his policy. The crisis is described in the vocabulary of Cold War and the struggle against totalitarianism; yet the language clearly does not fit. Iraq is a regional power possessing twice the population but less than half the GNP of Belgium. Applied to this affair, rhetoric adapted to the clash of superpowers and to great historical settlements has worked badly. Hence the president's difficulty in sustaining domestic support for what he is doing.
The category of great power was, in the past, associated with invulnerability. The "superpower" emerged at a time when nuclear weapons had removed any possibility of invulnerability. The superpower was not a traditional great power writ large but a different category of power, characterized by possession of a nuclear arsenal, by which each superpower rendered the other vulnerable, and by the claim each made to represent a model of the future of mankind.
It was not enough to be a nuclear power or a major economic power. Britain had nuclear weapons in 1952, France in 1960, and both were economic powers of much greater international consequence than the autarkical and economically stalemated Soviet Union. Japan's immense economic potential was evident by the end of the 1960s, and was realized in the 1970s and 1980s, when the European Community was also emerging as a coherent economic actor. But none of these were superpowers. They made no ideological claims, and asserted no global mission.
The Soviet Union never possessed industrial power remotely comparable to that of the United States, although for an unconscionably long time American and other Western analysts accepted Soviet claims to industrial and technical parity, and even to imminent superiority: that the U.S.S.R. really would "overtake and surpass" the United States. The U.S.S.R.'s nuclear status, ideological claims and political influence and its domination of eastern Europe, all made it appear logical to assume equivalent economic and industrial power, or at least the potentiality. There was, as well, an evident political, bureaucratic and, in the defense industries, commercial motive to make the most of the Soviet threat.
The Soviet system's collapse in 1989-90 was precipitated by economic failure but was fundamentally a product of ideological and moral exhaustion. The "internal contradictions" Marxism had attributed to capitalism actually characterized communism, and these eventually became unsustainable. The economic failure was not only product of an inability to keep up with Western industrial productivity and creativity, or with the Americans in the superpower arms rivalry (although the prospect opened by "Star Wars" in the early 1980s, of still another generation of countermeasure-measure-countermeasure competition, this time in space, must have appalled realists in the Soviet leadership). It was the Soviet system's mounting inability to function successfully even on its own terms, evident in falling life expectancy, a gradual but visible impoverishment, the bureaucratic stultification of all life.
The ideological collapse of which Mikhail Gorbachev was a product (and expediter, if unwittingly so) saw the difficult acknowledgment by a new generation of the Soviet intelligentsia that the system simply was false, evil in its consequences. This acknowledgment was the function of glasnost. There was that collapse in the confidence, and belief in self, of the ruling elite characteristic of prerevolutionary situations. The regime's past was for the first time openly confronted; an effort was begun to come to terms with the legacy of communism and to make amends for it-lamely at first, but with mounting courage. This preceded perestroika.
It was a collapse so complete that even now, only months later, one has difficulty crediting not only how thoroughly Marxism-Leninism dominated Soviet life for seventy years but how crucial the challenge of communism was taken to be outside the U.S.S.R.: how powerful its hold on the Western imagination, how influential its claim, made to the nationalist elites of the ex-colonial world, that it alone provided a valid and "scientific" interpretation of history and revolution. The American ideological counterclaim, that the United States represented the novus ordo seclorum promised by the Enlightenment, evoked nothing remotely comparable. The American ideal found a certain resonance in postwar Western Europe into the 1950s, and again in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and into 1990 (assuming a fantastic quality there, as in the caricature of the American dream and promise invoked in the Polish presidential campaign of November-December 1990). This ideal was chiefly important to Americans themselves, providing the rationale for the United States' liberal internationalist foreign policy from the 1940s forward, and offering a definition of national purpose.
Now all this is over. The Soviet Union is in economic and political decomposition and is the more dangerous for it, given the existence of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons under conditions of questionable security and the reality, this winter, of hunger and penury, struggle between republics and the center and among the nationalities.
The United States remains the world's most important military power, as it has demonstrated in the Persian Gulf. However, national power as such rests on a triad: military power; economic power, incorporating technological leadership or competitiveness; and finally social cohesion and public consensus on national goals. In the categories of economic and technological power the United States has faltered in recent years. The events of the summer and early autumn of 1990 displayed nearly complete stalemate on fiscal policy, the result of apparently irresolvable divisions on social priorities. A true national consensus on foreign policy has been lacking since midway through the Vietnam War, and certainly does not exist with respect to the gulf.
America's military scale and reach are dramatic, yet the very size of the gulf deployment suggests a disproportion of the country's military power to actual threats to its security. Iraq, whatever else may be said about it, does not pose any threat to the essential security of the United States. Even Iraq's threat to American economic interests, its attempt to obtain control or decisive influence over a significant part of the world's oil production is dubious, since oil is useless to Iraq unless it is sold on an international market that Baghdad cannot, in the long term, more than marginally influence. Our experience with OPEC should have demonstrated that.
On the other hand, the security of the United States is diminished by the limits placed on its autonomy of action by the country's dependence upon foreign creditors and its inability to resolve the political stalemate that exists on the question of taxation. The gulf deployment was accompanied by an appeal for other nations to pay for it, a demand the United States would never have made in the past, and one that itself amounted to a tacit renunciation of superpower standing. Superpowers pay their own way.
America's relative economic and technological decline is reversible, certainly, and is the subject of much anxious debate and many proposals for action. The American people are capable of sweeping changes of direction. Nonetheless while the United States remains rich in a form of power relevant to a Soviet military challenge that has faded, it is today weak, relatively speaking, in those forms of power in which its new and relevant rivals, Japan and Western Europe, are strong. The new rivalries contain none of the lethal threat of the old, of course. They still concern national influence, but influence that is obtained through commercial success and industrial and scientific leadership, producing prosperity and national well-being.
Currently the United States is also at a relative disadvantage because Japan and members of the European Community finance the American deficit-out of self-interest, certainly, so as to sustain a still-rich market important to them. But it is a relationship with a colonial aspect, as is the American trade relationship with Japan, wherein Japan buys low-value-added food and raw materials from the United States while selling to it increasingly high-value-added high-technology manufactures. Such a relationship multiplies Japan's advantage greatly; hence the United States risks falling further and further behind. As the head of the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Jacques Attali, has remarked, the United States is now "Japan's granary, like Poland was for Flanders in the seventeenth century." One may also observe a colonial quality in the military relationship of the two countries. The United States, the debtor, furnishes the forces that provide the lender's military security, in exchange for the latter's purchases of U.S. treasury bonds not otherwise so easily marketed. An equivalent relationship has now developed with Saudi Arabia, which is purchasing its defense from the United States just as it is accustomed to purchasing other services from other foreigners.
The character of these relationships has provoked uneasiness in the United States, and some corrective forces are at work. However, as Paul Kennedy has bleakly observed, the same thing was true in past cases when great powers "were engaged in a national debate about 'decline'-early seventeenth-century Spain, for example, or Edwardian Britain. . . . There was at the time a widespread agreement that their decline was not inevitable, and that the country could hold its own, or reassert itself, provided there was enough Vision,' 'willpower,' leadership,' and the rest." It did not help. However, the scale and inevitability, or otherwise, of these trends of failing American competitiveness and national competence are not the subject of this article, which is concerned with the geopolitical significance of the change in the international order produced by the virtual collapse of Soviet power and the relative weakening of the United States.
Two novel factors in the international situation must parenthetically be noted. One is the intensification of immigration to the more developed states, mainly from Latin America and Asia to North America, and from the Middle East and Africa to Europe. This phenomenon has already produced significant social and political tension in Europe and effected a marked change in the social texture and cultural patterns of the United States. It will certainly influence the future cohesion and political capacities of the Western industrial nations, in ways that differ from state to state. Western Europe also experiences some westward migration from the chaotic and impoverished east, but this may diminish as the economic condition of the ex-communist countries improves.
The second new factor is the proportionate weakening of the military advantage enjoyed until now by the advanced industrial states, as industrializing nations-Iraq, China, India and others-acquire the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. This obviously is what has given such significance and emotional weight to the gulf crisis. Iraq is a metaphor for a Third World that can attack the wealthy nations that dominate the international system, and so avenge the poverty of the "South."
However, at the same time, the economic advantage of the advanced industrial states is increasing, since trade among the technologically and industrially advanced accelerates their own dynamism and decreases their dependence on single-source raw materials. In this respect, the gulf affair is misleading. Iraq's threatened domination of gulf oil supplies posed no fundamental long-term threat to the industrial countries so long as Iraq's need to sell oil was greater than the industrial countries' need to buy (from Iraq); price, in the end, is determined by forces beyond the supplier's control.
The conclusion generally drawn from these changes is that the world is moving toward a restored pluralism of power, a multipolar geopolitics. An end to superpower domination of the international system, however, implies a threat to the stability and (relative) peace among the major powers enforced by the superpower confrontation during the postwar years. The actual consequences will obviously be greatly influenced by the economic as well as political consequences of the gulf conflict. In the longer term the shape of the international system would seem to depend upon three major variables.
The first is what follows in the Soviet Union. It was apparent as early as 1988 that President Gorbachev was likely to prove the Kerensky of a Russian revolution that had only begun. He was, and remains, the rational reformer, the liberalizer who condemns the past and wants to make vital changes in the structure of society without destroying it. He represents that phase in the revolutionary progression that Crane Brinton called "the Rule of the Moderates"-which, unfortunately, usually proves short-lived.
There is a tendency for power to go from Right to Center to Left, from the conservatives of the old regime to the moderates to the radicals or extremists. As power moves along this line, it gets more and more concentrated, more and more narrows its base in the country and among the people, since at each important crisis the defeated group has to drop out of politics. To put it another way: after each crisis the victors tend to split into a more conservative wing holding power and a more radical one in opposition. Up to a certain stage, each crisis sees the radical opposition triumphant. The details of this process vary naturally from revolution to revolution.1
Once the old system has been undermined and the process of revolutionary change begun, it usually proves uncontrollable. This clearly is what is happening in the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, if Gorbachev is Kerensky, he is Kerensky without Lenin. Gorbachev has his rivals, but he does not face a disciplined radical movement or party such as the Bolsheviks in 1917, possessing a program, a plan of action, a command of political and revolutionary tactics. Gorbachev is still the most skillful politician visible in Moscow, and he still controls the apparatus of central power, the police, the army and a centralizing, integrating bureaucracy. However opposition to him mounts, even there, and he does not control the economy, and that is vital. No one else controls the economy either, which is the most significant fact about the Soviet situation today.
The second variable is what will develop in Europe, especially the European Community. Particularly crucial will be the changes in Germany after it has digested eastern Germany, and in the character of Germany's future relations with the other EC powers and with the state, or states, that emerge from the current disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The outlook is perhaps clearer than it was a few months ago, when Germany was thought by many to be tempted by a kind of economic Rapallo, an abandonment or attenuation of its EC and Atlantic ties and reestablishment of its past position of economic dominance in eastern Europe. The Germans are best placed to meet the need of the U.S.S.R. for capital, investment and economic direction, and such an eastward shift of German economic orientation has appeared to carry with it a political threat, a new version of the now obsolete German strategic "neutralization" scenario.
Now it seems clear that Germany has no interest to serve by sacrificing its western ties for eastern opportunities that appear more and more dubious. Discovery of the real condition of eastern Germany was a shock. It now seems that eastern Germany's industrial reconstruction and environmental cleanup will alone absorb more than a decade of western Germany's investment surplus. On the other hand the EC with its Single Market looks more promising than ever, at a time when the postwar trading and tariffs system, the GATT system, appears in jeopardy. The EC gives Germany a solid political anchorage. Its values are the values that made postwar West Germany a success. There today seems no reason to doubt the new Germany's commitment to the EC and to the Western alliance-or to what survives of the Western alliance when the gulf crisis is over.
German unification placed a considerable strain on relations within the EC, with Margaret Thatcher's British government openly hostile to the pace and quality of the unification process, and France plunged into pessimism by the fear that it could find itself isolated between an eastward-looking Germany and a Britain determined to exploit its American relationship. Prime Minister Thatcher's overthrow in November changed that. Her successor, John Major, does not display her obsessive hostility to European entanglements. Nonetheless a fundamental question remains as to what the EC will become as a political entity. Notwithstanding the EC's program for political union, reemphasized in Rome in December, the prospect of the European "superstate" that Thatcher so ferociously opposed remains remote. The EC has no independent ability to tax, and its decisions must be executed by national governments. Its parliament remains essentially powerless. A single European foreign or security policy remains a distant prospect, if a realistic one at all. There are institutions for discussing and, when possible, coordinating the foreign policies of the individual governments of the EC. There is a European security organization, the West European Union, dormant since the creation of NATO, which has recently given sign of awakening-a tremor of the eyelids. But even if these institutions of cooperation are strengthened over time, it is difficult to see them going very far beyond the fairly limited present area of common action.
On the other hand, in the economic sphere, the program for the post-1992 Single Market is proceeding, and while this certainly will not reach all of its targets in detail by the end of 1992, it has already accomplished a fundamental change in how European businessmen, industrialists and bankers see the future. For some time they have been making their investments and organizational commitments on the assumption that there will be a Single Market and that it will work; that, of course, means that the affair already is a success. Those are self-fulfilling assumptions.
The relevant political question is to what extent the existence of this Single Market, and of the common rates of value-added taxes, common tariffs, common labor and security norms, and common currency that come with it, will automatically force parallel fiscal and economic policies, and hence a practical unification in basic areas of national policy. This is the way real European unification will come about, if it does come about.
Another important question with respect to Europe is how the European Free Trade Association countries and the nascent east European democracies will be brought into the EC: in what stages, with what restrictions, and with what effect upon the development of the EC. They will eventually be brought in one way or another, meaning an ultimately much-strengthened "Europe" with a huge new internal market to satisfy. And after that-eventually-there remains the Soviet market, or the Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Lithuanian, and so on.
European developments provide by far the most interesting prospect before us today, in my opinion the one capable of making the largest difference to the world of fifty years from now. However, as far as one can now see, there is not going to be a single, integral Europe, meaning a single actor on the international scene named "Europe."
In principle, Europe possesses the capacity to become such an international political actor: the political talent, intelligence and economic foundations necessary to create such a power certainly exist. A very considerable military power already exists in western Europe, as well as the potentiality for more. One must doubt, however, that in the foreseeable future the major European nations will cede the essentials of independent national decision and action. Europe seems much more likely to remain a powerful association, or advanced form of alliance, of like-minded nations with a shared history and fundamental values and interests in common-but also with considerable and continuing differences in perceptions of world affairs and willingness to intervene to influence events outside the EC. One is reminded of something a contemporary observer said of Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when nearly two thousand separate German political entities or sovereignties still survived. He called it "impregnable in defense and incapable of aggression." It was not such a bad condition for Germany, and it is not a bad one for Europe today, considering the past.
The third variable is what happens in the United States. Will the relative economic decline and political stalemate characterizing the United States today, and the country's social conflicts, be mastered? It is a fundamental question to which no present answer is possible. A second question is what course the United States will elect to follow in foreign policy.
There are those in Washington who see the American response to the gulf crisis as the model for a new American program of global activism in support of democracy and in opposition to aggression, or as leading an international coalition to do this. Is such a plan serious? In theory, yes. The idea of a world unlocked from its Cold War polarization, where conflicts can be aired at the United Nations, and where the weight of international opinion can make itself felt, as over Kuwait, is an attractive one. The idea of the United States as coalition-builder and persuader of international opinion is attractive as well. This was the American conception of its role at the close of the First World War, and again when the United States sponsored the creation in 1944-45 of the United Nations-Wordsworth's "Parliament of man, the Federation of the world"-as it then seemed. The unilateralist United States, contemptuous of the United Nations and indifferent to the constraints of international law-to "unilateral compliance," in Jeane Kirkpatrick's phrase-was a fairly recent development.
However this vision of a new international order led by the United States presumes that the United Nations' opinions will prove consistent with American opinion, so that enforcing the U.N. judgments would be acceptable to the American public. There seems little reason to expect this to be so. Certainly one cannot expect it to be so consistently. For four decades the United States has opposed U.N. majority opinion on Israel, terrorism, other matters of Third World interest, and on its own policies in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and so on.
The vast majority of governments represented in the United Nations are unrepresentative, and most are dominated by class or sectarian interests. The United States is a profoundly nationalistic society with deeply rooted unilateralist attitudes. It is scarcely imaginable that Washington would accept decisive U.N. influence on its own policymaking. It seems most unlikely that U.S. public opinion would accept further American military interventions involving fighting and casualties in the service of an international consensus the United States did not dominate. Washington would certainly expect to lead any new "world order," whether organized under U.N. auspices or otherwise.
And this, surely, is not in the long run a realistic expectation. There was much reluctance in Europe, not to mention in Japan-where a government crisis was provoked-to follow the United States into the gulf. Americans complain that the Germans and Japanese have contributed little to the gulf effort, and that the French have acted with considerable reserve. But the unspoken reply of the Europeans and the Japanese is that they did not ask the United States to do what it did, and they are distinctly nervous about the consequences of all of this. They would have handled Saddam Hussein differently (or, an American might object, not handled him at all). The affair is seen by the allies as another American adventure they are compelled by Western solidarity to support, but about which they are deeply apprehensive. It seems unlikely to prove a successful model for the future of international cooperation.
Any program of international intervention to keep order and check aggression would, in practice, seem to mean a mobilization of the permanent members of the Security Council against conflict and unrest largely of Middle Eastern, Asian, African or Latin American origin, without much regard for how that conflict has emerged or for the merits of the dispute. This is the case today; Iraq obviously enjoys considerable sympathy in the Arab world. Such a program would thus imply an institutionalization of what in the past has proven the principal source of grief for the United States in its postwar policy: its attempt, and failure, to control or suppress radical movements of indigenous origin and native energy in the Third World. American policy in the past has persistently interpreted such movements-those that it felt compelled to oppose-as manifestations of communism, or as decisively exploited by the communist powers to advance their interests. To reinterpret such movements as obstacles to a peaceful "new international order" (alternative to what might seem the chaos of life itself) seems an unprofitable and ultimately unfeasible course. Past experience of this approach to the non-Western world does not recommend its continuation.
The gulf affair has reopened the oldest debate in American foreign policy, that of isolationists versus interventionists. The isolationists are much the same people they were in the 1930s and 1940s, with much the same beliefs, essentially that the United States should keep apart from matters that do not directly threaten its tangible interests. Their conversion to internationalism from the 1940s forward proves to have been chiefly a product of war and then of anticommunism. With communism defeated they are ready to bring the troops home, just as in 1918 and 1945. The neoconservatives of the 1970s and 1980s have assumed the part played in the past by the liberal internationalists. They want the United States to lead a crusade for global democracy little different in inspiration from the Fourteen Points of Woodrow Wilson, or the Atlantic Charter, or the United Nations as originally envisaged by Franklin Roosevelt and his associates.
It is impossible at this point to say who will win this debate over the direction of American policy. The isolationists would seem to have a better chance to win than at any time since Pearl Harbor. Certainly if the gulf adventure ends badly they will be greatly strengthened. One must add that "isolationism" is an imprecise term and that U.S. economic and commercial engagements make a policy of economic isolationism (or autarky) inconceivable. The American security engagement in Europe will almost certainly continue as long as there is unrest in eastern Europe or the Soviet Union-and as long as the European allies wish to preserve the association, are prepared to share its burdens and are willing to maintain the essentials of the transatlantic free-trading relationship of the past forty years. On the other hand, the existing American apparatus of worldwide military bases and capacity for worldwide interventions, together with the conceptions of American (or "internationalist") global security responsibilities justifying this deployment, are fundamentally challenged by the new isolationism.
The international prospect today is not so much a world dominated by a single superpower as it is one lacking even great powers that meet the traditional definition of invulnerability. No nation is invulnerable; none are autonomous. No nation dominates in the way individual nations have dominated in the past. Japan; the European states, or EC; the United States-all are economic great powers, but vulnerable ones. The EC is the most important contemporary trading and industrial grouping but has not become a serious political actor and may never become one. The gulf crisis has demonstrated its present and persisting foreign policy incoherence.
Japan is vulnerable to change in the international trading economy, as well as to trade discrimination or trade war. Europe possesses the advantage in that respect, trading predominantly with itself, and prospectively with new markets in eastern Europe. Japan currently lacks the ambition for a global political role, and probably is disqualified from it by the uniqueness and historical isolation of Japanese civilization. The resentments against Japan that persist in Asia as a consequence of the Second World War, and the new hostilities provoked by Japanese commercial and trading policies, are also obstacles to a world political role commensurate with Japan's economic strength.
The unprecedented level of international cooperation achieved in the course of the gulf crisis, and as a result of the end to Soviet obstructionism in the United Nations, has prompted the hope of more international cooperation in the future. On the other hand, changes in the character of relevant military power, and in its distribution, and the drastic discrepancies of wealth that exist and are growing between nations of "North" and "South," threaten to produce a more anarchical and competitive international order. American and Soviet vulnerabilities, currently economic and social, could in the long term (the very long term, no doubt, for the United States) produce military vulnerability. The relative military weakness of the major European states and of Japan, on the other hand, is a reversible condition. All have been major military powers in the past.
History usually counsels a pessimistic conclusion-if a qualified one, since challenge and conflict have proven the only begetters of constructive change. However, the unprecedented fact about the present day is that the leading powers are democracies, and history suggests that democracies do not go to war with one another. The democracies are the prosperous success stories on the contemporary scene.
This too is unprecedented. In 1900 liberal society-bourgeois democracy-was widely believed corrupt and failing, under sentence of death. Trotsky subsequently put it that "History had already poised its gigantic soldier's boot over the ant heap." It was never made entirely clear why liberalism and democracy had failed; it simply was the conviction of the time that bourgeois society lacked "authenticity" and deserved to be replaced by something else. War in 1914 was generally welcomed by the elites of western Europe as a force of clarification, opening a new epoch in which "a clean sweep" could be made of what bourgeois society had created (as the Futurist Manifesto of 1910 demanded). So it did. What followed was the epoch of totalitarianism, producing human suffering unexperienced in Europe since the Thirty Years War.
This is the epoch whose end we believe and hope we are witnessing today. Provisionally, at least-one can never be certain-democracy and liberalism are restored to power and respect. They have succeeded. The radiation of their success is what conquered eastern Europe and provoked ideological collapse in the Soviet Union. The radiance of Western justice and success is the power that caused the east European nations and the Soviet Union to abandon what they were and attempt to become what we, the democracies, have made of ourselves. The success of the democracies has compelled acknowledgment, and tentative emulation, among the elites of the non-Western nations, who until now were inclined to credit the "scientific" claims of socialism and the claims to efficacy of the single-party authoritarian model of government.
It is a moment to seize. The tragedy the gulf affair threatens is that it may spoil this moment and block an international consolidation of the regime and the values of satisfied, democratic, peaceful society. It threatens to cloud the democracies' peaceful accomplishments and deepen the alienation of those in the non-Western world who perceive themselves to be victims of the West.
The great lesson of how the Cold War ended may be stated in these words: being is superior to doing. What a nation is, is essential. What it does can only express what it is. The Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West "won" because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so.
There is a profound political truth here, which has not clearly been articulated, but which is vital to the choices that lie in the immediate American future. What we do on the international stage is of obvious consequence, but enduring success for a nation lies in the quality of its society and civilization. Military power served America's purpose when the Soviet threat was urgent, or seemed urgent. But the essential American, and Western, success in the postwar years lay in the creation of vital and energetic societies, extending social justice, promising further prosperity, capable of engaging the enthusiastic commitment of the nation's elites and young.
This has not recently been so clearly the case in the United States. The accumulation of American checks and incoherences has instead posed the possibility of costly failure, an experiment nobly undertaken that cannot be sustained.
The foreign relations of the nation rightly dominated its attention during the half-century now ending. To make that its continuing priority risks becoming an attempt to prolong artificially what Americans have thought, with reason, their heroic passage on the modern stage, but in doing so to fail the true tests the United States now confronts. The national challenge is within.
1 The Anatomy of Revolution, New York: Vintage, 1957, p. 130.