Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A quick updater on the debates swirling over US foreign policy

The NY Times weekend book review section has an endpiece that's more about an issue than about a book. Last weekend it was about foreign policy, under the headline "Which Way Do We Go?"

It was meat and potatoes to this student of foreign policy, covering nine recent books (if I counted right) and pingponging between neoliberalism and neoconservatism (both now out of fashion) and landing on neo-isolationism.

Is that the way we're going? To a "return to the inwardness of the post-World War I years?" Public opinion may be forcing the United States in that direction, though its history is not exactly replete with success.

Here's the final word from the esssay:

It may not be a bad thing that almost no one in foreign policy circles is proposing anything new. Foreign policy is not modern dance; tried and true may be better than avant-garde and visionary. Still, in today’s world, marked by unparalleled threats and characterized by a striking division between elite ideas and broad public opinion, it’s hard to believe that America’s way forward is a return to the past.

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