Provocative quote by G. K. Chesterton:
“It may be said with rough accuracy that there are three stages in the life of a strong people. First, it is a small power, and fights small powers. Then it is a great power, and fights great powers. Then it is a great power, and fights small powers, but pretends that they are great powers, in order to rekindle the ashes of its ancient emotion and vanity.”
I came across this quote in a book by CH (MG) Kermit D. Johnson, former US Army Chief of Chaplains, who opposed US policy in Central America. Ethics and Counter-revolution: American Involvement in Internal Wars (University Press of America, 1998).