Essay: An Idea Whose Time Is Fading

The etymology can be traced, with rare nicety, to the last Big Bang in world affairs before the current one -- the pivotal autumn of 1945, just after the end of World War II and before the beginning of the cold war. "Our national security can only be assured on a very broad and comprehensive front," said Navy Secretary James Forrestal at a Senate hearing that fall. He added, "I am using the word security here consistently and continuously, rather than defense." Senator Edwin Johnson replied, "I like your words national security."

So did a lot of other Americans. By 1947...

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