Robert Kaplan: Why Trump Can’t Disengage America From the World – The New York Times

The frontier was about being frugal with our assets. It was about pushing out over the perimeter, but only while tending to our own. It was about maintaining supply lines, however much that slowed us up. Above all it was about pragmatism. Such were the wages of settling a parched continent on the far side of the Missouri River — America’s first adventure in nation-building in a hostile physical environment. And the further removed we become from the psychology of that original experience, the worse will be our encounter with the world beyond.

Indeed, our geography fiercely argues for a balance: be wary of nation-building, but remember the global responsibilities of a maritime nation. After all, it was only by conquering a great desert that we became a sea power — since without reaching the Pacific Coast we never could have built our 300-ship Navy. And it is that Navy, our primary strategic instrument given that nuclear weapons must never be used, that guards the great sea lines of communication along with access to hydrocarbons for our allies, thus allowing for a semblance of global order in the first place. America, precisely because of its geography, is fated to lead.

From: Why Trump Can’t Disengage America From the World – The New York Times

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