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The End of the American Century

April 20, 2021 at 6:00 pm EDT

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In this salon, Sean Patrick Hughes discusses the notion of the American Century and its apparent conclusion in the post Cold War era.
“Think of the late ’90s. Microsoft, Tomahawks, Titanic. Our economy, military, and culture were unchallenged, apparently unchallengeable. It hasn’t been like that before or since. Those years were, you could say, the high-water mark of the American century. But there was no Clinton doctrine. There was barely a Clinton foreign policy, other than the president’s boundless confidence in globalization. Everything seemed to be getting better on its own”

George Packer

The Dayton Accords that ended the war in Bosnia were signed in Ohio four months after I enrolled in Annapolis. 15 years later my Task Force in Al Anbar turned out the lights on Operation Iraqi Freedom with the successful conclusion of the second free elections since the U.S. invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime. From a distance, it’s possible to view that progression as one arc; a continuation of what George Packer described as America’s post Cold War “high water mark.” Few would argue that’s the case though.

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April 20, 2021
6:00 pm EDT
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