The Past and Future of American Isolationism

Project Expert

Charles A. Kupchan

Senior Fellow

About the Project

An America that seeks to shield itself from the world has deep roots in the nation’ past. Throughout much of its history, U.S. statecraft continued to adhere to the isolationist instincts of the Founding Fathers.  That tradition came to an end with America’s entry into World War II, which opened an era of robust global engagement on the part of the United States.  Today, the United States may be headed toward an era of retrenchment in which it seeks to decrease the scope of its strategic engagements abroad. In my forthcoming book, I probe the ideological and political roots of American isolationism, assess its evolution over time, and draw on America’s past to shed light on the era of retrenchment that likely lies ahead.