This core component of American patriotism – the popular conviction in a world-historical role for the US – is unlikely to continue. First, it is increasingly difficult not to notice that in many basic matters of government and society, including healthcare, public education, gender equity, social mobility and prosperity, economic fairness, childcare, environment and more, the US has fallen behind most of the developed world. The US’s world-historical ambitions have simply not kept pace with world history. Secondly, the wars. Wars are nation-making events, but they can also be unmaking ones. If your patriotism is linked to pretensions of a world-historical role, what do you do when the world chooses not to emulate you, or when it (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) doesn’t want your Americanisation project?