As a nation, the United States of America wields more economic, social, and political power and influence than any other country. It is acknowledged, though it is argued to what degree and when, that the exercising of this power has benefited global peace and security. This is most "clearly" demonstrated during the two World Wars, and at various times during the Cold War and post-Cold War era. Although the USA is now dominating the unipolar world, it is reducing its overseas commitments. Yet, history proves that global stability and security will not be achieved without the strong participation of the USA. Efforts should be made to persuade and to understand that the USA should continue playing such a constructive role, particularly in consideration of the uncertain and eventful post-Cold War years.
One of the prime concerns of the USA and other countries in the post-Cold War era is the illegal international trade or movement of nuclear weapons technologies and materials, and related personnel to non-nuclear states, especially from the territory of the former Soviet Union to states that may be considered by the international community as rogue.
The USA has substantially facilitated and/or made possible the peace process in the Middle East and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In addition to the USA's huge gross domestic product and her technological achievements, the USA has significantly benefited global stability and prosperity because, in large part, the USA's security and economic interests more often than not coincide with the world's security and economic interests. This is because the USA is a democracy and has always been a democracy when being a "great power". Democracies nurture stability and prosperity because they permit the empowerment of human rights and individual liberty, unleashing their potential. Democracies do not go to war with each other, nor do they generally provoke conflict, and their governments are held accountable by the people (the general public (electoral pressure) can "check" government excesses). No other ideological system matches or surpasses the level of long-term stability and prosperity that is achieved in a market economy democracy. Since there is no better alternative ideological system than democracy, and since the USA has been for many decades the world's foremost supporter of global (market economy) democratic development, the USA has done much, if not most, to facilitate long-term global stability. "Twentieth century" USA, compared to many other states that at one time or another wield/wielded great power that they could use or abuse (the European colonial powers, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Japanese Empire, Communist China) at least has been beneficial and substantially "easier" on the world as a whole. The fact that many countries and most regions, eg Germany, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Western Europe among others) that have remained or orientated toward market economy democracies with US support (e.g. the Marshall Plan), are today prosperous nations and/or regions, speak volumes of the USA's beneficial role in the world. In turn, the USA and the more recently emerged strong democracies or democratic unions (e.g. the European Union, India and Japan), should increasingly work together in partnership toward a more stable and prosperous world (in concert with the United Nations).
The benefit that the world receives from US influence depends significantly on the extent to which the USA's own security and economic interests coincide with the world's interests in general. Thus, global prosperity and stability are facilitated when the USA supports democratic development and promotes fair trade/market systems. But how often is this the case? Clearly, the interests and stability of peoples, nations, and the world are not always served by the actions of the USA to serve its own interests, and also what it perceives the world needs (some peoples simply adhere to different cultural values). Most notably, in fighting communism during the Cold War, numerous factions and regimes which were not democratic but authoritarian, ruthless and oppressive, but because they too were anti-communist, were actively supported. Furthermore, since the USA is a capitalist democracy, the USA can be tempted, and has and will be known to put economic interests before human rights, before the very principles written in her Constitution. Such double standard doctrines based on "a lesser of two evils", "an enemy of my enemy is my friend", "a friend of my enemy is my enemy" (as in security interests) or "putting money before human rights" (as in economic interests) obviously do not necessarily and have not necessarily promoted the welfare of people and nations around the world. The problem for US foreign policy is choosing between democracy and stability (in its various forms). Sometimes stability does not include supporting democracy. A big question of our time is to what extent the USA's global role (micro to macro scale) has been beneficial, detrimental, and then can be justified to the world community. Moreover, as the USA continues its relationship with the global community, to what extent will the USA recognize and learn from its wrongdoings and to what extent will the USA undertake necessary policy adjustments (at a time when the World urgently requires strong and responsible leadership for the World). In the post-Cold War era, the USA would serve herself and the world best by providing leadership in sustainable development, and then through international consensus (the UN). But the USA's capability to effectively adjust and respond to a new global reality is handicapped by her own enormous unsustainable resource requirements, her own military-industrial complex, her own state secrecy and intelligence structure, and her own societal problems. Clearly, reform from within (without abandoning the world altogether) may therefore be the most effective remedy to help herself and the world, as a priority.