In this article, Anatol Lieven argues that the collapse of the Soviet and communist threats and the triumph of capitalism and bourgeois values gave the United States an unprecedented chance to act as a status quo hegemon, dominating the world with the consent of other major powers. The United States threw up this chance by acting instead as a ‘dissatisfied’ and even revolutionary power, creating a sense of menace and resentment across much of the world. After the 11 September attacks, the near-global threat of Sunni Islamist terrorism and revolution gives the United States another opportunity to rally much of the world behind it, in a kind of new ‘Holy Alliance’ of states against threats from below. But by mixing up the struggle against terrorism with a very different effort at preventing nuclear proliferation, and by refusing to take the interests of other states into account, the US risks missing this opportunity for a second time, and endangering itself and its closest allies such as Britain.