Ronald Steel apparently had it wrong when he titled his magisterial 1981 biography of our magazine's co-founder "Walter Lippmann and the American Century." For how could the 1900s have been the American Century when, according to Mitt Romney, the American Century has just begun? From Romney's highly-touted foreign policy address at the Citadel this morning:
But I am here today to tell you that I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will. Without American leadership, without clarity of American purpose and resolve, the world becomes a far more dangerous place, and liberty and prosperity would surely be among the first casualties.
Let me make this very clear. As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.
You hear that, China, India and Brazil? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Well, don't smoke, of course, or drink coffee either. But, well, you know what I mean. Don't even think this is your century. Maybe you can have the next one. Or who knows, maybe by then things'll have passed you by and it'll be the...Mexican century! Or the Turkish century! Or the Greek century! (Or did they already have theirs, back in the day?)
Oh, and that bit about not apologizing for America (which also provided the title of Romney's latest campaign book)? It's not true.