Michael Gerson, writing in the Washington Post:

Declining national influence is a choice, and America seems to be making it.

What foreign policy practitioners politely call the “churn” of events is beginning to look more like chaos. Egypt teeters between the establishment of a democracy and the restoration of the caliphate. Syria melts away as an organized state and perhaps as a geographic fact. Iran is on the verge of building the Shiite bomb and igniting a sectarian nuclear arms race (and you thought a purely ideological nuclear arms race was scary).North Korea continues its bold experiment in proliferation and abnormal psychology.

And beneath it all, some large trends: In the Middle East and North Africa, a combination of economic stagnation, a youth bulge and a sense of historical grievance — all the preconditions for radicalism and terrorism. In Asia, the rapid reversal of 250 years of Western economic and technological predominance, which is raising questions about America’s future military predominance.

Barring the option of utter despair, these challenges would seem to require expanded, sophisticated American engagement to shape an economic and security environment favorable to our long-term interests. Do any of these problems grow easier with time and inattention?

Whole thing here.

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