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The Illusion of Liberal Internationalism's Revival

Authors: Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow, and Peter L. Trubowitz, Associate Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin and Senior Fellow, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Summer 2010)
International Security



Over the past two decades, political polarization has shaken the domestic foundations of U.S. grand strategy, sorely testing bipartisan support for liberal internationalism. Stephen Chaudoin, Helen Milner, and Dustin Tingley take issue with this interpretation, contending that liberal internationalism in the United States is alive and well. Their arguments, however, do not stand up to careful scrutiny. Their analysis of congressional voting and public opinion fails to demonstrate the persistence of bipartisanship on foreign policy. Indeed, the partisan gap that widened during George W. Bush's administration has continued during the presidency of Barack Obama, confirming that a structural change has taken place in the domestic bases of U.S. foreign policy. President Obama now faces the unenviable challenge of conducting U.S. statecraft during an era when consensus will be as elusive at home as it is globally.

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