(Hat tip, Kim du Toit)
Charles Krauthammer (a conservative who happens to think that civilian disarmament is a remarkably good idea - boo, hiss) has written an excellent essay entitled Democratic Realism. Highly recommended. As Kim noted, this is not a piece you can easily excerpt from, but here's a taste:
We like our McDonald's. We like our football. We like our rock-and-roll. We’ve got the Grand Canyon and Graceland. We’ve got Silicon Valley and South Beach. We’ve got everything. And if that’s not enough, we’ve got Vegas--which is a facsimile of everything. What could we possibly need anywhere else? We don’t like exotic climates. We don’t like exotic languages--lots of declensions and moods. We don’t even know what a mood is. We like Iowa corn and New York hot dogs, and if we want Chinese or Indian or Italian, we go to the food court. We don’t send the Marines for takeout.
That’s because we are not an imperial power. We are a commercial republic. We don’t take food; we trade for it. Which makes us something unique in history, an anomaly, a hybrid: a commercial republic with overwhelming global power. A commercial republic that, by pure accident of history, has been designated custodian of the international system. The eyes of every supplicant from East Timor to Afghanistan, from Iraq to Liberia; Arab and Israeli, Irish and British, North and South Korean are upon us.
That is who we are. That is where we are.
Now the question is: What do we do? What is a unipolar power to do?