Who could doubt that the best thing America has experienced since the Second World War is the collapse of the Soviet empire? Victory in the Cold War finished off the deep threat of international communism backed by major military power. It freed the United States from entanglement in proxy wars with the Soviet Union, and it released from the national consciousness the high tension of possible global thermonuclear war. "The biggest thing that has happened in the world in my life, in our lives, is this," George H.W. Bush would later write. "By the grace of God, America won the Cold War."
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