I was 11 years old when World War II ended. People my age and older constitute a pretty small fraction of the population now, and we understand something that most Americans cannot comprehend. Stated simply, we have not always been the alpha nation, and it’s unlikely we will continue to be the alpha nation if we ignore other nations’ interests.
By the end of the war, much of the developed world was left tragically devastated. We were the only country strong enough militarily and economically to aid reconstruction and to defend the world against a rising tide of Soviet aggression. We were the alpha nation by virtue of our own strength and generosity, and the respect and love we earned from other nations.
Now, 70 years later, much of the world has recovered and can match our economic strength and creativity. New generations value their own sovereignty and do not revere us as their antecedents once did. America can no longer be the world’s policeman, and our obsession with the accumulation of weapons has drained us of resources essential to maintaining and upgrading our own human and physical capital. That alpha status has faded significantly; we, especially our new president, must learn to deal with that.
Martin Bensky, Richland