The Blog

What Obama's Reading

11:20 AM, Jan 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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“The underlying assumption of such a course is that the present world order will more or less persist without American power, or at least with much less of it; or that others can pick up the slack; or simply that the benefits of the world order are permanent and require no special exertion by anyone. Unfortunately, the present world order—with its widespread freedoms, its general prosperity, and its absence of great power conflict—is as fragile as it is unique. Preserving it has been a struggle in every decade, and will remain a struggle in the decades to come. Preserving the present world order requires constant American leadership and constant American commitment.

“In the end, the decision is in the hands of Americans. Decline, as Charles Krauthammer has observed [in THE WEEKLY STANDARD], is a choice. It is not an inevitable fate—at least not yet. Empires and great powers rise and fall, and the only question is when. But the when does matter. Whether the United States begins to decline over the next two decades or not for another two centuries will matter a great deal, both to Americans and to the nature of the world they live in.”

What Kagan is suggesting is not actually similar to the president’s policies over the last three years, unfortunately. An American leader cannot just hope that America does not decline. One has to act to advance and strengthen America. It’s great that the president is reading Kagan, and even echoing him. It would be even better if his policies were Kaganesque.

Don’t hold your breath. There’s presumably a reason why Kagan is an advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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