With the end of the Cold War came not the end ofhistory, but the end of America’s sense of its strategic purpose in the world.Then, after a decade of drift, the United States was violently dragged back intointernational conflict. Its armed forces responded magnificently, but itsleaders’ objectives were substantially flawed. We fought the wrong war—twice—forreasons that were opaque, and few American citizens understood the cause forwhich their sons and daughters were fighting and dying.
War is a poor substitute for strategic vision, anddecisions made in the heat of imminent conflict are often limited by theemotions of the moment. In Don’t Wait forthe Next War, Wesley K. Clark, a retired four-star general of the US Armyand former Democratic candidate for president, presents a compelling argumentfor continued American global leadership and the basis on which it cansucceed: a new American strategy. America needs both new power and deeperperspective. The platform for American leadership is to use America’s energyresources to spark sustainable economic growth, building new strength to dealwith pressing domestic issues like the deficit as well as the longer termchallenges to US security—terrorism, cyber threats, the next financial crisis,China’s rising power, and climate change.
Such a strategy is not only achievable butessential, and it is urgently needed. This is the true test of Americanleadership for the next two decades, but it must start now so America has thepower and vision to deal with the acute crises that will inevitably come—in theMiddle East, Europe, or Asia.