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Insecurity Over Our Place in the World

For Americans today, the hubris-filled days after the fall of the Soviet Union are gone. Today, the country faces a newly assertive Russia, a dysfunctional Middle East, and a China that is increasingly willing to go its own way. Few things have made America’s place in the world more insecure than how we reacted to 9/11. The events themselves could have been only a terrible national tragedy, a consequence of life in an open society, but the U.S. reaction to 9/11 set in motion a process that has exposed the limits of our power overseas, our domestic political system, and our culture itself. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the world has watched as the United States has become less and less sure of itself, fears that by 2016 led to a presidential election that dismayed the world and sent a clear message that America was close to spiraling out of control.