There is a well-known adage that politics stops at the water's edge, but this tends to be more hope than reality. American history is filled with examples in which political disagreement at home has made it difficult for the United States to act, much less lead, abroad.
Asked by Adepoju Adeola Praise, from Eastern Mediterranean University
The League of Nations was championed by President Woodrow Wilson in a fourteen-point speech to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918, and formally began its operations in January 1920. However, the League failed to win Senate approval and is forever remembered as a major example of a communications breakdown between the president and the Senate.
CFR President Richard N. Haass calls on Americans to "resolve our political dysfunction, rethink our foreign policy and restore the foundations of American power—and in the process provide another century of American leadership."
Ray Takeyh examines examples of foreign policy failures turned success, including "the shift in U.S. containment policy during the early stages of the Truman presidency; the changed U.S. approach to the Vietnam War after Richard Nixon's 1968 election; and George W. Bush's surge in Iraq."
The Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolívar has a remarkably elastic legacy. Ever since his death in 1830, Latin American politicians across the political spectrum have claimed to be his rightful heir. What Bolívar left behind, it turns out, was less a coherent set of ideas than an abstract vision of Latin American unity -- a vision that remains impossible today.
In 2012, the Obama administration announced a "pivot" to East Asia—a strategy that includes a focus on regional security alliances and a rebalance of U.S. military presence from Europe to the Asia-Pacific.