Imperial Temptations

The U.S. military budget is greater than those of the next 14 countries combined. Yet Americans face a greater risk of terrorist attack than ever before. This situation fosters a sense of vulnerability that makes Americans hyperalert and predispos

Issue: Spring 2003

America today embodies a paradox of omnipotence and vulnerability. The U.S. military budget is greater than those of the next 14 countries combined and the American economy is larger than the next three combined. Yet Americans going about their daily lives face a greater risk of sudden death from terrorist attack than ever before. This situation has fostered a psychology of vulnerability that makes Americans hyperalert to foreign dangers and predisposed to use military power in what may be self-defeating attempts to escape their fears.

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