The Reluctant Sheriff

The United States After the Cold War

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Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

It has been several years since the end of the Cold War—and still there is no name for the present era, much less a U.S. foreign policy to replace the obsolete doctrine of containment. The Reluctant Sheriff fills this void. It is the first book to provide a comprehensive understanding of the post-Cold War world and a compass to help the United States navigate it.

Richard Haass proposes that the United States adopt a new foreign policy—"regulation"—and work to promote order in an often unruly world. Haass suggests that the United States will often need to assume the role of global sheriff, forging coalitions or posses of states and others for specific tasks. Haass also argues that Americans need to resist the lure of isolationism and maintain spending on defense, intelligence, foreign aid, and diplomacy at current (and affordable) levels. He warns that anything less risks squandering the spoils of winning the Cold War—and setting the stage for a new era of dangerous global competition.

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