King recognized that for nations, as for individuals, the measure of goodness is not perfection, but rather direction. America was born headed in the right direction—and continues to build a “more perfect union” dreamed up by imperfect men.
General Matthew Ridgway was a conservative internationalist who supported free institutions, defense alliances, and unsurpassed military might while opposing unsustainable wars beyond the range of national interests.
It is tempting for presidents, who are the final arbiters of exercising state power in foreign affairs, to view the material realm as destiny. But ideas and principles have power too, often above and beyond the visible.