While I suspect that all of my readers will nod approvingly as they read the first paragraph below taken from Alan Greenspan’s 2018 book Capitalism in America, I also suspect that many these days will struggle with the second; which, make no mistake, explains the U.S.’s preeminence every bit as much as the first:
“The country’s preeminence was reinforced by two decisions that it made in the last days of the war and the early days of the peace. The first was the decision to remain wary of the European fashion for socialism.
The second decision was to embrace the rest of the world. America resisted the temptation to return to splendid isolation as it had done after the First World War. It rejected the temptation to punish its opponents as the Europeans had done at Versailles, recognizing the wisdom of Herbert Hoover’s advice to Harry Truman in 1946 that “you can have vengeance, or peace, but you can’t have both.” On the contrary: it decided that its long-term interest lay in rebuilding capitalism on a global scale, embracing free trade, and offering help not only to its exhausted friends but also to its defeated enemies. The United States could “never again be an island to itself,” Henry Stimson, one of the grandees of the American foreign policy establishment, observed. “No private program and no public policy, in any sector of our national life, now escape from the compelling fact that if it is not framed with reference to the world, it is framed with perfect futility.””