More good work, Ethan. A couple of things: More specifically, “great” is relative to a reference. I submit the reference to be the persistence of a species and its compatible environment , and by that standard, America has been suicidal in its fanatic, blind exploitation of the environments and people it has encountered. Becoming”great again” implies even more of that mindset. We are beyond the point of no return for our conscious “greatness”, and humanity has to step back from fandom of itself. Whatever increases population and wealth of a few humans(“go Sportsball!, go War machine!, go My Local Fanaticism!”) can no longer be assumed to be 'good for General Motors (good for America). Science and academics have completely failed humanity on this point. See Joe Bageant on that. RIP.
My other points are on science and humility. The specific growth of power has been in the use (and waste) of cheap energy. When Europe’s empires attacked America, “cheap energy” meant “free slaves to capture”. Then, it was wood, water power, coal, oil, and nuclear power. The real legacy of cheap anything is that those with access also waste whatever it is at will. In today’s world of Oligarchs, Agribusiness and Academic Building Construction (aka “Economics”, cheap 'food’ and technopriviledge), we are throwing away more than we use. It’s not just a policy of Trickledown money, but Trickledown health, Trickledown humanity and Trickledown sustainability (the future). “Science” needs to climb out of the slime it has created, wipe off its goggles and REALLY look at itself and reality, without the fanatic hubris. Sorry for the rant. Too much time to think yesterday.