Sometimes it feels like what's happening now, at any given moment, is bigger, more important, worse, and more dangerous than before. Luckily, that often turns out to be incorrect: Today's news is tomorrow's hazy memory, and what once seemed like an existential threat is now nothing more than an unpleasant recollection.
It sure seems like there are frightening events happening everywhere today—from ISIS to Ebola, Russian imperialism to Chinese saber-rattling, climate change to congressional dysfunction. But is it really worse, or will this, too, pass?
Bad news: It's really worse, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Festival Wednesday.
"I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times," Hagel said. "We are seeing a new world order—post-World War II, post-Soviet Union implosion—being built. There are many questions, foremost among the American people: What's the role of America in this new world that is evolving? Should we have a role? What is appropriate?"
And Hagel didn't seem especially sanguine that it would end anytime soon. In other words: Get used to endless war.
"What we’re seeing in the Middle East with ISIL is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It's going to require coalitions of common interest," Hagel said.