Most Americans have some image from September 11 that has stayed with them during the year since the attacks. Mine was not a television image. It was a single line of print: “One of the hijackers left a Qur’an in his rental car at Logan Airport.”
The United States holds a position of military and political dominance unique in world history. The Roman Empire surrounded the Mediterranean Sea but held no sway in the rest of the world. The British Empire was global in reach, but confronted countervailing powers in Europe and in the continents where it had outposts. Neither constraint applies to the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century.