I believe Les Gelb has the right attitude here and he’s someone who knows about American Power being the President of the Council of Foreign Relations. American Power, it depends on how you define it. I find think of most Americans when they think of American Power think of the U.S. Armed Forces and the broader National Security State. Like the Central Intelligence Agency, to use as an example. But our entire National Security Council is part of American Power. Which includes the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, as well as our Treasury Department.
See American Power, is our Armed Forces, and the National Security State, but it is also our economy. The stronger our economy is, the better our military can be. The more effective our economic sanctions against terrorist states can be. The main reason we won the Cold War against Russia, is because our economic strength. Their Marxist system simply failed their country. And their people had enough and you saw all of those non-ethnic Russian Soviet Republics break up and form their own countries. America, probably had a stronger military than Russia during the Cold War. But our economy and economic system was the main weapon there.
Now the purpose of American Power again using the NSC and economy to make America as strong as it can be. So we never have to worry about our own security. At least in the sense that someone could invade us, or wipe out a section of our country, or even attack us from the air. Which is where we’ve always have been at least since Pearl Harbor. The purpose of American Power is not to rule the world, or even police the world. At least by ourself, but to use our power to more than adequately defend us when needed. And to advance our interests and values that a lot of the world already shares.
I agree with Les Gelb, that America is and should be the strongest leader in the world. Simply because we are and there isn’t another democratic developed nation in the world that is capable of replacing us, or even coming close. But being the strongest leader in the world and the most powerful country economically and everything else, is different from being the leader of the world. And having to take all the risks and pay all the price when some crisis develops around the world. While everyone else debates what America should be doing at the debating society known as the United Nations. While they don’t do anything themselves.