Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The American Interest

Richard N. Haass

Are isolationism and “leading from behind” ever really viable strategies for the United States? Has humanitarian intervention been discredited? What are Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-term goals, and how should NATO and the European Union respond to them? Will foreign policy play a significant in the 2016 US presidential election?

With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq producing more regional instability, not less, and with new hotspots emerging in eastern Ukraine, Syria, and Africa, US foreign policy has rarely seemed less effective. And, as the balance of economic power shifts inexorably toward Asia, many at home and around the world are wondering whether the burden of global leadership has become too heavy for the US to bear. But the nature and extent of US leadership in the coming years will also reflect the struggle for the soul of US foreign policy that has long pitted “idealists” in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson against “realists” in the tradition of Henry Kissinger. With the end of the Obama administration near, that intellectual battle is heating up once again.

In a period of unprecedented global flux, Richard N. Haass is perhaps the best-placed US foreign-policy expert to make sense of what lies ahead for America’s international relations. Currently President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Haass was Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department under President George W. Bush, leaving after disagreeing with the administration’s decision to invade Iraq. He also served as the senior Middle East adviser on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council.

Every other month, in The American Interest, written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Richard N. Haass brings to bear the perspective and experience gained from three decades in the innermost circles of US diplomacy. When Haass has something to say about American foreign policy and its global implications, US leaders – Democrats and Republicans alike – pay careful attention.

Shouldn’t your readers be listening, too?

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