A Dangerous Interregnum
The immense toll in lives and treasure of Iraq and Afghanistan — wars the country will try to forget rather than memorialize — explains part of the inward turn. So, too, does a feeling that something is skewed in an economy where for many the relationship between hard work and reward seems lost. But there is something more, a very American pragmatism that has understood the power shift now underway and wants the nation to husband its resources after a reckless decade.
When an exhausted Britain in imperial decline passed the mantle of global power to the United States, the transition was relatively seamless, an affair between cousins. Today America’s travails inspire schadenfreude but nobody much wants the keys to the kingdom.