from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

What Would "Restraint" Really Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy?

Proponents of restraint need to clarify what the term means, how to implement it, and its implications for U.S. national interests and world order.   
A convoy of U.S. vehicles withdraws from northern Syria, in Erbil, Iraq, on October 21, 2019.
A convoy of U.S. vehicles withdraws from northern Syria, in Erbil, Iraq, on October 21, 2019. Azad Lashkari/Reuters

In my weekly column for World Politics ReviewI examine the notion of restraint in U.S. foreign policy and discuss some of its far-reaching implications.

After decades of American global engagement, the concept of “restraint” is having its moment, and understandably so. Thirty years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Americans are weary of foreign misadventures, whether undertaken by neoconservatives or liberal interventionists, and they want more attention and resources devoted to challenges at home. The national security establishment may still endorse U.S. primacy, backed by a global network of alliances, the forward deployment of American troops, “onshore balancing” in Europe and Asia, and democracy promotion around the world. The public is more circumspect, preferring a restrained internationalism.

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Read the full World Politics Review article here.

More on:

U.S. Foreign Policy

Grand Strategy

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Human Rights

Democracy