This is an election year, so we can expect a fresh round of China-bashing. American politicians love to use China as a punching bag; it never stops, really, but the trend accelerates when candidates are running for office.
The United States is the most powerful country in the world. By any measure, we are preeminent. We have challenges and vulnerabilities, and we are not as dominant as we once were, but no one else comes close to America’s military, economic and political might.
We are living in a time when the limits of American power are being severely tested. Our adversaries are watching closely. They see us withdrawing from our longstanding leadership role. Eager to fill the vacuum, they are looking for ways to gain leverage, to challenge our strengths and exploit our weaknesses.
Discouraging news surrounds us. It’s hard to hide from. It’s in the newspapers, on television and radio, and on the internet. Our nation is divided, and our politics are polarized. We are torn apart by disagreements over immigration and by racial divisions. A pandemic has killed over 100,000 Americans and hobbled the economy. Health care… Read more »
For decades after WWII, the U.S. stood across the world as a mighty colossus. We were the richest and strongest nation, and our history and institutions were the envy of all.
Not long ago I was asked by several students for my thoughts on the outstanding characteristics of good politicians. What follows is my response:
We are living in a difficult time. Our country and its communities are deeply polarized; many Americans distrust one another as well as the government and other institutions. The novel coronavirus has deepened our problems in a way none of us imagined.
The toughest issue in foreign policy is when, where and how to intervene in the affairs of other countries – and when to walk away. Given America’s role as a global leader, the question arises for U.S. leaders again and again.
The U.S. has been the world’s leader for decades in promoting democracy, political liberalization, free trade and collective security. For the most part, Americans support that role, but many are wondering about its costs, and are growing ambivalent about our global engagement.
It’s frequently observed that Americans don’t closely follow international affairs. That may be true, but my experience, over a period of decades, suggests most Americans appreciate the importance of our foreign policy and have a clear-eyed and sensible view of our nation’s role in the world.