George Soros is both smart and rich. Very smart and very rich, in fact. And, more often than not, he is on the side of the Good Guys. So when Soros starts talking about international politics and the role of America, he's worth listening to.
The December 2003 issue of The Atlantic includes a long-but-fascinating essay by Soros entitled "The Bubble of American Supremacy," in which he argues that the notion of the United States as a hyperpower able to act unilaterally across the globe is the functional equivalent of a financial bubble -- rooted in part in fact, in part in self-delusion, and prone to disaster once it pops. Soros, no stranger to global crises and the threat of totalizing ideologies, spells out both the danger of the current course and what the United States should do in order to better achieve its global goals of spreading democracy and freedom.
The supremacist ideology of the Bush Administration stands in opposition to the principles of an open society, which recognize that people have different views and that nobody is in possession of the ultimate truth. The supremacist ideology postulates that just because we are stronger than others, we know better and have right on our side. The very first sentence of the September 2002 National Security Strategy (the President's annual laying out to Congress of the country's security objectives) reads, "The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."
The assumptions behind this statement are false on two counts. First, there is no single sustainable model for national success. Second, the American model, which has indeed been successful, is not available to others, because our success depends greatly on our dominant position at the center of the global capitalist system, and we are not willing to yield it.