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A nation must think before it acts.
Editor’s Note: This slightly edited article originally appeared as an FPRI E-Note in September 2012. As you will see, it remains a relevant and compelling read.
Old friends of FPRI may recall that from 1994 to 2000, I wrote for the journal Orbis an editor’s column called “Night Thoughts of an I.R. Professor.” Today those happy years seem to have been in some former lifetime, given how far and how fast America’s standing in the world has fallen. Hence the title of these lugubrious lamentations, which I need to get off my chest before starting a long-overdue sequel to my 1997 book Promised Land, Crusader State . . . and which our leaders need to take to heart before trying to remake any more foreign countries.