An old saying, sometimes (mis)attributed to Otto von Bismark, goes that "There is a special Providence that watches over fools, children and the United States of America." This has been repeated often enough, and not said of other countries, that one begins to suspect it may be true.
The Soviets had access to copious information about the United States, not just that leaked unintentionally through diplomatic channels, but much ladled out by investigative units of the mainstream American press. Yet the Soviets must have been maddened by the realization that even with such good inside knowledge they couldn't keep up with us, let alone overcome us. The vulnerabilities of our open society were compensated by the strengths resident in America's enormously creative energy. Freedom takes risks. In the West's contest with the Soviets, those risks proved worthwhile.
China and other countries today keep doing knock-off versions of our military weaponry--copies of stuff we seem to leave lying around. The latest souvenir is the tail of one of the of abnormally quiet US helicopters that attacked Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. The Pakistan government's intelligence officials, some of them perfidious and overly smart-by-half, may let the Chinese have it. But, chances are, by the time the Chinese make their version of our helicopter, we'll be on to a new one.
For a classic case of America's phenomenal luck (or Providential blessing), we have had Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Assange, above all, is a reckless ideological foe of the U.S. By publishing thousands of classified cables he may have hurt America's reputation for keeping secrets, and he certainly hurt the reputations of certain foreign powers whose dealings the American cables discussed. (Yemen is a good example.) But Assange also unwittingly showed our diplomats' sincerity and good will, all in all. The cables may embarrass us a bit, but mostly they reveal a world power of prudence and moderation.
Among other things, Wikileaks cables show that George W. Bush's policies in the War on Terror were justified, including the operation of Guantanamo. And interrogations. And military tribunals. The list goes on. It must be a bit galling to Assange as he awaits trial for a reputed sex crime in Sweden.
It is a tribute to The Washington Post that they ran an article by Don Rumsfeld, former Defense Secretary, doing a victory lap around the evidence provided--"illegally", as he points out repeatedly--by Wikileaks. Rumsfeld is actually a perspicacious and amusing personality, as well as the steel spined DOD leader of the Bush years. This is displayed to good effect in the article. The dog-in-the-manger snarls that follow it in the "Comments" section only add to the picture of fatuity his critics present.