The Return of History

Lest there was any lingering doubt, history has returned — with a vengeance, and with new challenges that will surely test us as people, as countries, and as a species in ways we’ve never been tested before.

The post-World War II version of normal was an aberration: with unprecedented peace, growth, and stability, it’s understandable that people could have jumped to all sorts of conclusions about, say, economics, politics, war, or the United States and its place in the world.

Though we haven’t seen a pandemic in over a century, this might not be the last one in our lifetimes. And we’re already seeing drastic climate damage, unprecedented economic changes, and the beginnings of what looks to be a very poorly thought-through great-power competition.

When we can’t see around the corner of the next week or month or decade, what sort of leaders should we be looking for?

It seems the only way forward is to elevate those who have an appropriate respect for tradition combined with a high tolerance for ambiguity and innovation. And all of that needs to be couched in a strong respect for the rule of law and the power of example.

A rare combination, to be sure, but we’re going to be all out of Boomer candidates pretty soon. That’s as good a chance as any to re-examine what we’re looking for in the leaders who’ll have to deal with the world the outgoing (and going, and going) generation has made.