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The Wisdom of Retrenchment

America Must Cut Back to Move Forward

Authors: Joseph M. Parent, and Paul K. MacDonald
November / December 2011
Foreign Affairs


The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment—cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies—is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power's international legitimacy.

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