The creation of a post-imperial America is the most urgent—and potentially most liberating—adventure for Americans in the 21st century. What will Americans make of their country if they lose their conviction of an exalted destiny? Resistance to the waning of the white American imperium will surely be widespread and adamant—witness the descent of the Right into nativist and fundamentalist lunacy. But relinquishing empire as a way of life, giving up the delusion that the world will fall apart without the ordering of our money and armaments, presents a moment of possibility: we could embrace the decline of our global supremacy with a joyful sense of emancipation. If we are weaker and poorer, we’ll also be freer to arrange our common life by wiser and saner standards—perhaps by standards that reflect our professed belief that the poor are blessed, and that the meek, not the strong, will inherit the earth. If that unlikely but not impossible reformation transpires, Andrew Bacevich will be among those who deserve our thanks for their service.