Stress Test for a Fading Superpower
And as we went crusading for a new world order, Vladimir Putin’s Russia gradually recovered from its crushing Cold War defeat, and China began to move out of America’s shadow to become the most powerful rival modern America had ever faced.
Because America entered both world wars of the 20th century last, while all the other great powers bled one another, and because we outlasted the Soviet Empire in the Cold War, America emerged, in the term of President George H.W. Bush, as “the last superpower.”
We had it all. We were the “indispensable nation.” We saw further into the future. We could impose our “benevolent global hegemony” on all mankind. And so it was that we set out to create a “new world order,” plunging into successive wars in Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Syria, Libya, Yemen.