Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation's Report Card, was released. It's not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.

How long can this country, with its shrinking share of global GDP, sustain its expanding commitments to confront and fight all over the world?

The very institutions that republics so painstakingly maintain to maximize the liberty of their citizens and the stability of their body politic are susceptible to perversion into instruments of tyranny.

We have neither the money nor the authority to launch bombs when we suspect someone has done something wrong overseas.

The democracy worshippers of the West cannot compete with the authoritarians in meeting the crisis of our time because they do not see what is happening to the West as a crisis.

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