ROBERT KAGAN - The Crisis of Legitimacy: America and the World

What kind of world order do we want?” asked Joschka Fischer , Germany ‘s foreign minister, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. That this question remains on the minds of many Europeans today is a telling sign of the differences that separate the two sides of the Atlantic — because most Americans have not pondered the question of world order since the war.  Robert Kagan discusses America and the world.

Right now, many Europeans are betting that the risks posed by the “axis of evil,” from terrorism to tyrants, will never be as great as the risk posed by the American leviathan unbound. Perhaps it is in the nature of a postmodern Europe to make such a judgment. But now may be the time for the wisest heads in Europe , including those living in the birthplace of Pascal, to ask themselves what will result if that wager proves wrong.