A political movement during World War II that would have been disastrous for the West.
Kiron K. Skinner is the W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. She also is an associate professor of history and political science at Carnegie Mellon University
(The Hoover Institution) ― The ideas of liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, laissez faire, and democracy constitute the creed upon which the United States was founded. Of course, these were not new ideas when the American Revolution took place; political theorists, statesmen, and politicians had been attempting to infuse them into government for centuries. The ideas were new, however, as the fundamental basis for government and governance.
Thus, speaking non-normatively, Seymour Martin Lipset declared the United States the first new nation precisely because it was the first modern nation to be born of a set of ideas drawn from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberalism, now called classical liberalism. The issue is not that the United States is better than other societies; rather, it got there first.
If we agree that the American creed is the doctrinal embodiment of a set of ideas that unify Western societies, then we are on safe ground in saying that at least since the post-World War II era, the United States has been the main defender of Western civilization. The existence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an objective demonstration of America’s leadership of the West. NATO is an enduring mutual security pact for Western protection. Article five remains the organization’s touchstone because it is the clearest statement available of Western societies adhering to collective defense—“an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” It goes on to say that force may be used by the signatories “to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.” The United States has been at the helm of NATO since it was formed in 1949.
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