January 21, 2009 7:42AM

Humble Hegemony?

Obama's inaugural address had a sprinkling of foreign policy realism:

[Earlier generations] knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

Sounds like John Quincy Adams or Reinhold Niebuhr. You'd almost think the President supports a strategy of restraint.

Unfortunately, that sentence came just after this:

And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

A nation tempered by humility and restraint would not presume to lead every person in the world.