The United States has always held onto the narrative of the redeemer nation; the story Americans tell themselves about the purpose of their nation.
The narrative has existed from the beginning; it has only evolved and increased, but it has never changed. America is God’s hand in world affairs.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has gradually been losing this narrative. America’s narrative of completing God’s mission was achieved. George H.W. Bush offered a coda, a ceremonial war against Iraq, as demonstrating America’s achievement.
There are now competing narratives – both within and outside of the United States. Actual people in actual places have become restless.
The narrative power has been lost; the narrative is being pushed by others: China, Russia, Muslims, even Europeans…but not Americans.
Does America drift for a while, or do we accept that we are no longer exceptional? For the US to cease to see itself as something exceptional will take something like what Japan and Germany realized in World War Two.