The U.S. also assumed the military role that had been played by the British navy for years, keeping the seas safe from piracy. But it didn’t look to directly govern the rest of the planet, preferring instead to export its free-trade, democratic system. “Greatly increased levels of international trade and foreign direct investment have raised the costs of conquest and shrunk its benefits,” the Human Security Report puts it. Countries decided it made more sense to trade goods and services than to fight each other. Global wealth increased; global conflict decreased.
“Today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth,” cognitive scientist Steven Pinker told Gene Healy of the Cato Institute.
There’s every reason to expect things to keep getting better, as long as the U.S. keeps promoting the policies our government has espoused for the last several decades: free trade, fair economic competition, market-based policies.
Nobody’s likely to build a statue to celebrate these virtues. However, maybe it’s time we should.