As a society, we struggled in the '90s to assess risk, and this was as true in foreign policy as it was in the business world and in politics. The end of the Cold War allowed America to consolidate our capitalist model as the default for the international order. It also made policymakers far more opportunistic about weighing the costs and benefits of engaging American military power around the world. We oscillated between being enamored of our sole superpower status and being mindful of our historic reluctance to play global policeman. We were stunned at how easy it was to defeat Saddam Hussein's army in the first Gulf War, but then chastened by the loss of 18 Marines in Somalia. We tragically stood by as genocide took place in Rwanda, but later, somewhat belatedly, led NATO to destroy ethnic Serbian militarism in the Balkans, even as we allowed looming threats from terrorist actors to fester elsewhere, like Afghanistan, with fatal consequences in the 2000s.