The principal risk to these efforts is that Americans could choose to wall themselves off from the world after a difficult decade. According to a survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 38 percent of Americans want to stay out of world affairs, the highest share since 1947, and the figure rises to a majority among young Americans who came of age during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
But retrenchment would be a huge mistake. America’s domestic revival provides all the necessary tools to facilitate American leadership abroad. Being humble about the United States’ ability to shape foreign societies, particularly through military means, is no excuse for a lack of ambition to continue the project of advancing U.S. interests and universal values overseas.
Rather than bracing for American decline, Washington should prepare to lead the world anew.