America was the world’s policeman, too materialistic and perhaps even a little lazy, but all in all very much the world’s last, best hope. – Evan Thomas, Ike’s Bluff
Evan Thomas is an American historian and writer. The subjects of his books are diverse, from US presidents to John Paul Jones to Edward Bennett Williams to the CIA. Ike’s Bluff – which we’ve quoted here before – is about President Eisenhower and his handling of both America’s rising nuclear stockpiles and the Soviet Union’s ascension as a nuclear power and today’s Thought concerns America in the 1950’s.
A lot has happened in the five decades since Eisenhower left office, but today’s Thought is as relevant today as it was then.
America was the world’s policeman…
We still are. It’s a role we seem fundamentally incapable of surrendering. Against all evidence to the contrary, America seems to think war will produce peace when all it does is produce more war.
…and perhaps even a little lazy…
This is true, too. Not so much because us Americans no longer want to work, but because more and more we are expecting our government to do more and more for us and it is not completely unreasonable to expect us to start clamoring for our government to provide cradle to grave coverage within a generation or two. Again, against all evidence to the contrary because if socialism really worked the Soviet Union would have won the Cold War and Cuba would be a world power.
…all in all very much the world’s last, best hope.
This is still true, too. The world needs America because make no mistake about it, the world is no different than a town, a state, a country and even a family: it needs leadership, too, and America, frankly, is the only country capable of providing that leadership.
America, however, is taking a flier on that responsibility. By refusing to give other nations the dignity of conducting their affairs without US interference, our government has produced both a violent world and a violent country. By refusing to give its citizens the dignity of conducting their lives without government interference, it has produced citizens both unwilling and unable to lead the world.
You and me – we the people – are tolerating all of this. Both individually and collective we have been derelict in our duty as citizens. We cannot be the last best hope for the world if we are not the last, best hope for ourselves.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.