12 February 2009

Let the Age of Muddling Through Commence

Andrew Bacevich ponders American triumphalism:
Ideas have consequences. Post-cold war triumphalism produced consequences that are nothing less than disastrous. Historians will remember the past two decades not as a unipolar moment, but as an interval in which America succumbed to excessive self-regard. That moment is now ending with our economy in shambles and our country facing the prospect of permanent war.

Don’t expect triumphalists to recant or apologize. Yet their time has passed. The Age of Triumphalism has ended. The Age of Muddling Through has commenced. In this new era, over which Barack Obama will preside, grandiose ideas will take a back seat to figuring out what actually works and calculating how much we can afford. Instead of looking to transform the world, the imperative of this new age is to preserve what’s left and restore what’s been lost. The nattering about the United States as an almighty superpower has ceased. For this at least we should be grateful.
(via John Zmirak)