A Test of Power

The Bush Administration has vastly exaggerated the dangers associated with the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and underestimated the deterrent capacity of U.S. military power.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2006

Projections of the rise and fall of nations form an indispensable element in the conduct of diplomacy, yet such estimates of what power is and how it is changing are very uncertain. Some observers, indeed, have suggested that we are nearly destined to get it wrong. The English statesman Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, noted that those "who are in the sinking scale do not easily come off from the habitual prejudices of superior wealth, or power, or skill, or courage, nor from the confidence that these prejudices inspire. They who are in the rising scale do not immediately feel their strength, nor assume that confidence in it which successful experience gives them afterwards."

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