During the interwar period American policy was dominated by a continuing and symmetrical failure consistent with the nation's laggard self-image to accept world leadership and to take command of its own economy The interaction between the two was destructive. Yet the terrific success of the American economy, entirely authentic within its contemporary material limits, kept the Americans from realizing the damage they were causing themselves as well as the others. An important reason was their self-centeredness compounded by ignorance of the extended workings of their own economic policies.