Although I hate that is has become so cliche, for a long time my watchword for the American future has been sustainability.

1. Of course, I advocate "Going Green." While "environmentalism" is much too often merely a nebulous catch-all talking point designed to score political advantage, we must move away from our plastic disposable society.

2. More fundamentally, I also advocate sustainability as an essential element of domestic economic policy. We can no longer promise what we cannot afford. We can no longer count on borrowing money on the strength of our prodigious economic history, while our economic future is increasingly at risk and enfeebled as a result of our profligate present. We can no longer rely on the illogical assumption that sustained deficit spending ensures perpetual prosperity. In essence, our government cannot be all things to all our citizens. To survive, our government must learn to say "no." As I have said before, we must understand that the Keynesian Interlude is coming to an end.

3. Perhaps most importantly, I advocate sustainability as a governing principle in terms of foreign relations. Idealism and pure humanitarianism regarding foreign affairs are luxuries we cannot afford in light of my second proposition. We must be much more circumspect in defining our vital interests. To put it bluntly, we must be much more frugal and selfish in wielding our military power. The era of Pax Americana is no longer tenable in the age we are about to enter. The argument over the intentions or benefits concerning the projection of American power is now moot. Rather, our new economic realities dictate a more humble and realistic approach to the world.

Ironically, I have a strong sense that the new post-America world order will be a tragedy for humanity in terms of security and quality of life. Notwithstanding, we stand at a crossroads in which our basic needs and vital interests must trump our evangelical impulse to ameliorate the human condition.

We are a long way from facing up to this inevitable radical change in our status. I firmly believe that we will not come to grips with these new facts of life until we are absolutely forced to. But I am increasingly convinced that they are out there waiting for us--like it or not.