Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order
Publication date: April 2013
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
You save: $3.00 (12%)
America must confront an increasingly turbulent world in the near future, as the destabilizing forces of globalization, rapid technological change, demographic imbalance, and financial meltdown merge to create a kind of global Wild West. This world will be a dangerous one, characterized by a resurgence of nationalism and regional conflict, and how we respond will directly affect both our future prospects and the long-term stability of the international community.
In Restoration, Council on Foreign Relations president Richard N. Haass outlines an approach to foreign policy that turns the challenge of this dysfunctional world into an opportunity for renewed American leadership. Weakened by a decade of costly wars, political dysfunction, and fiscal irresponsibility, we have seen our ability to lead severely curtailed. To begin with, we must get our house in order by sharply limiting our interventions in other countries in favor of rebuilding our domestic institutions and tackling our fiscal problems. Today’s world has moved from the bipolarity of the Cold War to the unipolarity of the post-Cold War to what Haass calls the non-polarity” of the current moment; therefore, the US has to recognize its limits and reorder its priorities accordingly. The days of wars of choice and other indiscriminate military actions are over, and the price of folly is higher than it used to be; when a non-polar world breaks apart, it’s much harder to put the pieces back together.
Haass’s doctrine of Restoration consists of two parts. First, America should focus on strengthening its domestic situation so as to protect itself from the anarchy of a globalized world, whether it’s global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, or climate change. Haass proposes a number of policies to realize this, including entitlement reform, free trade, more open immigration policies, and public-private partnerships. Second, America must let go of the idea that it can change other countries through unilateral military action. Achieving this will allow us to cut down on the bloated and ineffective defense budget, improve our international reputation, and put our resources where the action will be (the Asia-Pacific instead of the Middle East).
By getting its own house in order, the United States has an opportunity to fill the global leadership vacuum and eventually achieve a more expansive and humane foreign policy. Restoration lays out a bold vision for how the US can come to shape world events, rather than being shaped by them.