The Dire Consequences of America’s Retreat

Here is Bruce Thornton writing at Front Page Mag about America’s retreat under Obama:

U.S. foreign policy in crisis.

For most of its history the United States has vacillated among different foreign policy philosophies. Today we face a world in which our rivals and enemies have been emboldened by our seeming retreat from being the dominant power a globalized economy needs to ensure order and stability. Our current inability to decide on a course of action, however, is a dangerous inflection point that may lead to increasing global disorder and the decline of America’s power to protect its security and interests.

When America was a new nation, it wanted to avoid the quarrels of the Old World and its “entangling alliances,” as Thomas Jefferson called them, echoing George Washington’s warning against “permanent alliances.” The United States should influence other nations as an “example” of ordered liberty, a sentiment famously expressed by John Quincy Adams in 1821: America should be a nation of “well-wishers to the freedom and independence of all,” but one that “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

Yet even in its youth, the United States found itself embroiled in European wars. The global trade created by the British Empire, and the Napoleonic Wars that followed the French Revolution, necessarily led to conflict with other nations—as when Britain imposed a naval blockade on trade between France and America in 1812, leading to the War of 1812. During the early stages of economic globalization, the U.S. received a lesson in the limits of isolationism.

Since then, the nations of the world and their interests have become even more tightly knit together. These global interconnections have made the question of American foreign policy more complex. Four broad philosophies of interstate relations have developed, and they set the terms of our current debates about America’s role in the world.

Read more: Front Page Mag

Image credit: