Geography, Unity, and the Power of a Continent

For my inaugural blog post, I will crosspost my latest contribution to RealClearWorld, the website I edit.

Over the last few weeks, we have run a series on the U.S. role in the world. We have sought to cover the enduring aspects of foreign policy, and the exigencies and opportunities American leadership faces right now, if it cares to engage them.

George Friedman laid out the coherence of President Donald Trump’s worldview, and we have seen the president act in dramatic fashion in line with that view. Robert Kaplan reminded us of the powerful and peacable role played by the U.S. Navy, while Charles Lister lacerated the failings of Middle East policy. Ana Quintana reminded us of the vitality of a relationship with an ally next door, Jeremy Shapiro described the plight of nations caught between dyspeptic powers, and former ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder bluntly stated that the moment of U.S. dominance has come to an end.

At a time of heightened emotion and of shock politics aimed at short-term wins, I recommend in the strongest terms reading the individual entries to this series to retain a sense of perspective.

And perspective is the issue. As Alexander Cooley lays out in his contribution to the series, the United States 25 years ago “had assumed the leadership of a proclaimed new world order, and liberal democratic capitalism no longer had a viable global challenger. The expectations these changes heralded now appear unfulfilled.”

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