Decline Has Been Chosen
In October 2009, Charles Krauthammer memorably told an audience at the Manhattan Institute that “decline is a choice.” There is, he said, nothing natural about an erosion in the worldwide position and stature of the United States; rather, decline would come about as a result of policy decisions by American leaders: “Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written… Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline—or continued ascendancy—is in our hands.”
In 2009, the Obama administration began to behave in ways that suggested it was not ready to make that choice. Rather than ordering a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq, Obama kept our forces in that theater. Rather than lose in Afghanistan, the president decided on a limited “surge” there.
About the Author
John Podhoretz is editor of COMMENTARY.