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Bringing It All Back Home

Author: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
May 2, 2013
Time Magazine

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I have just written a book I never imagined writing. Sandpaper off the nuances and subtleties and Foreign Policy Begins at Home argues for less foreign policy of the sort the U.S. has been conducting for much of the past decade and greater emphasis on domestic investment and policy reform. For someone like me, a card-carrying member of the American foreign policy establishment for nearly four decades, this borders on heresy.

So, what got me to this point? It begins with what is going on here at home--and what is not. We lurch from crisis to crisis, nearly going over fiscal cliffs, threatening not to pay our bills to creditors, cutting much needed investment in human and physical capital, stealing from our children by refusing to rein in spending on retirement and Medicare, and educating people from abroad who want to stay and contribute to this society--and then refusing them the opportunity to do just that. Our public schools and many of our colleges and universities are not preparing young people or the long-term unemployed for a competitive global world. Our debt trajectory is unsustainable. Unless something meaningful is done, it is a question of when, not if, a major economic crisis materializes.

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