Question: What is America's place in the world?
Nancy Koehn: I go back to a couple of major chords, if you will, in the symphony playing in my head. One is this country, America, as the most powerful economic and military power in the world, it's simply not picking up the gauntlet. The gauntlet of leadership; the gauntlet of responsibility; the gauntlet of diplomacy; the gauntlet of lighting the way for a large number of countries trying to find their way toward industrialization Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and in many cases toward democracy … or towards some kind of democratic form of government. And the gauntlet was dropped, and you know unlike Henry V's soldier in the fourth act of the play, we're not picking it up. Not as a people, and not in terms of our political leadership. So I sigh in a kind of Jovian way every day about that. Because when you're a historian who has looked at as many empires rise and fall as I have over 20 years, you see an inflection point there for this country. You see the cost of that.
Recorded On: 6/12/07