The Magazine

‘A Different Country’

Aug 12, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 45 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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This is all utterly unnecessary and shockingly irresponsible. We have never been wealthier as a nation than we are today. We have never been technologically more advanced. The challenges we face are less daunting than those our forefathers dealt with. Our young men and women who have volunteered since 9/11 are at least the equals of the generations who have gone before. The attack on 9/11 is still fresh in mind, and the prospect of a world in which terror is rewarded, the enemies of liberty flourish, and nuclear weapons proliferate is clear enough ahead.

The good news is that all this is manageable at a far lower percentage of gdp, with a smaller military and with fewer troops in combat, than was required for most of the last 70 years. The good news is that our current enemies aren’t really that strong or clever or formidable. But they do need to be fought and deterred. That requires a military that is technologically preeminent and globally present. And if our enemies are not deterred, they can still produce terrible destruction and fearsome chaos.

But of course the problem isn’t our enemies. We have met the enemy of American greatness. The enemy is us. 

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