If you’re under the age of 100, you have never lived in a world where the United States was not the most powerful nation on Earth.
For a century, America’s dominance has shaped the globe. Many of our most basic assumptions, which we think of as Americans — assumptions about democracy and culture and art and the value of human life — are now much of the world’s assumptions, at least officially.
This has been an American century, but it could end. There’s no mandate that we must lead the world forever. We could be replaced, and it could happen soon.
In countless ways, this coronavirus pandemic has showed us that. It has revealed how terrifyingly vulnerable we are. We needed masks — we no longer make masks here. We needed specific medicines; we don’t make those either. Parts for ventilators and CT scans and an endless list of other critical medical devices — none of them are made here anymore. All of these things are now made in China.