U.S. foreign policy is in troubling disarray. The result is unwelcome news for the world, which largely depends upon the United States to promote order in the absence of any other country able and willing to do so. And it is bad for the United States, which cannot insulate itself from developments beyond its borders.
If success has many fathers, it turns out that so, too, does disarray. The Administration of George W. Bush overreached in Iraq and (along with the Federal Reserve Board and Congress) under-regulated the financial sector in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Congress should also be held accountable for the sequester (which makes no distinction between investment and spending), the government shutdown, the near-default on the debt, and repeated failures to reform the immigration system, modernize infrastructure, or reform long-term entitlement obligations. All of this has weakened the economic strength of the United States and exacted a serious toll on its reputation for reliability and competence.