The economic rise in the Asian heartland may well be the central geopolitical fact of our era. News stories increasingly compare America to China and its advantage, but it is not just the shifting of economic power away from the United States. It is a sense we have mismanaged our leadership, unaware of Earth tremors. Our response to the upheaval in the Arab world was muddled, so that now there is the prospect that Egypt might well be dominated by radical Islamists hostile to our ideals and our interests while our longtime ally Saudi Arabia is deeply alienated from the United States. We may yet see what has happened in the Middle East as one of the great strategic defeats in the history of U.S. foreign policy, comparable to the conversion of China to communism.
At home, we face an unprecedented decline in family cohesion, with about one third of American children being raised by a single parent, a condition that often has deleterious effects on their academic achievements, social skills, and even character formation. Nationally, our public education system struggles to overcome the consequences—and fails. We have too many teachers who are unable to meet the challenges.