On Letting GoIssue: Fall 1995
As virtually all the readers of this magazine will agree, the Cold War was a conflict of monumental importance. It defined an era. We believed that the fate of Western civilization--and thus of civilization as such--depended on its outcome, that it could fairly be represented as a conflict between democracy and totalitarianism, freedom and tyranny, good and evil.
Because of this, the Cold War called for an unprecedented commitment on the part of the United States. It was in terms of the conflict's extraordinary, Manichaean, life-threatening character that the overriding priority given to foreign and security policy needs over forty years--a priority that involved the subordination and neglect of many other needs--was justified, and rightly so.