In 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ended American isolationism and brought our country into a global war that resulted in a colossal rebuilding effort and a long, postwar conflict with the Soviet Union. The 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon also demolished illusions of isolation, and, once again, the U.S. has shown resilience, despite external assault and some self- inflicted errors. We need that resilience, and the wisdom that can emerge from experience, because we are ever more enmeshed in a dangerous world. The immediate lesson of the Sept. 11 attacks was that we aren’t protected by our oceans. The world is full of dangerous people, many of whom wish us harm. We embraced two approaches to this risk: protecting our homeland and exporting democracy through aid and military action. Although there will always be controversy over specific policies, such as the new airport screening procedures, almost all agree we need more protection than 10 years ago.
Glaeser, Edward L. "Americans Met Attacks by Drawing on Strengths." Bloomberg News, September 6, 2011.