What America needs today is a jubilant undertaker, someone—like Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan—who can bury the hubris of the past while convincing Americans that we are witnessing a wedding, not a funeral. The hubris of dominance, like the hubris of reason and the hubris of toughness before it, has crashed against reality’s shoals. Woodrow Wilson could not make politics between nations resemble politics between Americans. Lyndon Johnson could not halt every communist advance.
But Ronald Reagan did!
And all it took was some self confidence and a willingness to call a spade a spade. The Soviet Union WAS an Evil Empire, but no one was supposed to say so. We were all supposed to sit back and be dominated by the coming red wave, and the United States was supposed to go quietly into the night, then too.
And we cannot make ourselves master of every important region on earth. We have learned that there are prices we cannot pay and burdens we cannot bear, and our adversaries have learned it too. We must ruthlessly accommodate ourselves to a world that has shown, once again, that it is not putty in our hands.
We are not trying to make ourselves master of every important place on earth. We just want them to stop attacking us. But in fact, who does the earth call when there is trouble? They call on the U.S.. They cry like babies until we take care of the problem. In fact, the U.S. is the great peecemaker of the world, and the world likes it that way.