Present at the Destruction

The United States has a pretty good track record at winning wars, but there is only one important conflict in recent memory where we also won the peace. Fortunately, this singular victory occurred in conjunction with the largest of them all, World War II. The postwar peace was the result of an extraordinary work of American statecraft. It occurred because a very serious and smart group of men realized that, if the fruits of the hard-won victory were not to turn rotten again, the flaws in the world system that had led to the global conflagration needed to be corrected. So they created two critical institutions. The first was the Western alliance, later formalized as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to provide for collective security of the democratic world, and thereby decisively deter any future totalitarian aggression. The second was a system of international free trade, formalized as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, later renamed the World Trade...(Read Full Article)