America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change
Remarks to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute, Brown University
20 February 2020, Providence, Rhode Island
The 21st century arrived belatedly – but with a bang – on September 11, 2001, when aircraft repurposed as improvised cruise missiles blew up the World Trade Towers and part of the Pentagon. In the two short decades since the shock and awe of that attack, most of the previous century’s American efforts to bolster peace and prosperity have been undone. Gone are the constraints on the strong bullying the weak provided by international law, multilateral institutions, and plurilateral and bilateral commitments to mutual aid and cooperation. The norms that long moderated international and domestic behavior have been largely erased. Incivility is now ubiquitous.