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American Military Supremacy is Not Inevitable

The United States decided to rule the world. We can also decide to step back.

Illustration by Pete Reynolds

The country with the most powerful military in the world likes to pretend it has no choice in the matter. If the United States didn’t maintain order, the story goes, disorder would prevail. But as decades of messy wars drag on, this justification grows less and less plausible. On Episode 21 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to the historian Stephen Wertheim about how the U.S. took on its role as a military superpower, and what might happen if we relinquished it.

Later in the episode, TNR staff writer Alex Shepherd analyzes the runoff elections in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate. Republican Kelly Loeffler, who’s favored to win, is a political newbie with an insider trading scandal in her past. Why don’t voters care?

Read a transcript of Episode 21.