Like the Roman, contemplating the Huns amassing north of the Rubicon in the late fourth century A.D., or an Englishman surveying the demise of the British Empire in Asia in the 1940s, today’s perceptive American might be forgiven for viewing his country’s future with a deep sense of foreboding, and concluding that the days of the United States’ global imperium are numbered. No great insight is needed to read the runes; they are evident with every flicker of the 24/7 news cycle. The precise pathology of America’s largely self-ordained retreat from hegemony can be left to the historians: what should concern us now is whether the post-American world will be any better, or will it be the presage for a new Dark Age for mankind?

Quite why the American nation permitted itself in the last decades of the twentieth and opening ones of the twenty-first centuries to shed its traditional, muscular, and...


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