This debt-laden, dangerously soft America, according to Ferguson, certainly lacks the willingness to stay in a country such as Iraq for the time needed to turn it into a "prosperous capitalist democracy." England's Oxbridge-educated mandarins dedicated their lives to "running infernally hot, disease-ridden countries"; America's "brightest and best aspire not to govern Mesopotamia but to manage MTV; not to rule the Hejaz but to run a hedge fund." Indecisive political leadership reinforces the native flaccidness
. Were it not for Truman's dithering during the Korean War, Colossus relates, America might have crossed the Rubicon--perhaps nuking China, as MacArthur recommended-and thereby claimed its imperial mantle.
But the ease of his writing can deteriorate into flaccidness
and a dependency on stock jokes and situations, supplemented by reams of rote sentimental chatter.