For most of my three and a half decades as an American diplomat, the foreign-policy establishment (known unaffectionately in some quarters as “the blob”) took for granted that expansive U.S. leadership abroad would deliver peace and prosperity at home. That assumption was lazy, and often flawed.
Riding the waves of globalization and American geopolitical dominance, we overreached. We deluded ourselves with magical thinking about our capacity to remake other societies, while neglecting the urgent need to remake our own. Unsurprisingly, the disconnect widened between the Washington policy establishment and the citizens it is meant to serve.