American Imperium

Republicans and Democrats disagree today on many issues, but they are united in their resolve that the United States must remain the world’s greatest military power. ...

The constructed image of the past to which most Americans habitually subscribe prevents them from seeing other possibilities, a condition for which historians themselves bear some responsibility. Far from encouraging Americans to think otherwise, these historians have effectively collaborated with those interests that are intent on suppressing any popular inclination toward critical reflection. This tunnel vision affirms certain propositions that are dear to American hearts, preeminently the conviction that history itself has summoned the United States to create a global order based on its own self-image. The resulting metanarrative unfolds as a drama in four acts: in the first, Americans respond to but then back away from history’s charge; in the second, they indulge in an interval of adolescent folly, with dire consequences; in the third, they reach maturity and shoulder their providentially assigned responsibilities; in the fourth, after briefly straying off course, they stage an extraordinary recovery. When the final curtain in this drama falls, somewhere around 1989, the United States is the last superpower standing.
— Andrew J. Bacevich