Introduction  pp. 1-8


By Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke

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Any veteran of the Cold War trenches will tell you that the reason the war was worth fighting over so many years and in so many obscure venues around the world was that it was an existential struggle. Not only was it a struggle for the usual things that have throughout history compelled men to fight – family, territory, resources, and so on – but, more important, it set our values of human decency against forces whose first instinct was to imprison the human spirit and toss away the key. Such was the titanic scale of the struggle that defeat would be total. When nations were absorbed by communism there was, until 1989, no second chance. For those who ventured into these dark places, morality provided the guiding light.

Turning to the practical instruments that made victory possible, these veterans will tell you that the indispensable ingredients were the availability of U.S. power and the superior performance of the U.S. free market economic model. But the key lesson is that America's most effective weapon was its moral authority. Specifically, this was the sense that America was a force for good in the world – and the other side implicitly acknowledged the truth of this reality. Thus, while military and economic power were indispensable, for victory to be durable, there was no substitute for moral authority.

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