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Discussion: American Foreign Policy (Pull Back or Lean Forward)


For the past decade The United States has been engaged in a state of perpetual war in several theaters across the world. Irrespective of minor differences between the two parties, they are both committed to continuing this state of affairs. We will discuss the significance of this policy and the consequences for America and the world.

The main articles for this discussion are "Pull Back" by Barry Posen from MIT, and the opposing view from three authors urging America to "Lean Forward".

Foreign Policy Magazine argues (citing Posen) that Obama is actually following many of these principles in the article America in Recline.


Here's a blurb about the two main articles:

The most recent issue of Foreign Affairs hosts an excellent debate between two visions for a future U.S. grand strategy  (thanks to Foreign Affairs for making both articles freely available for a limited period). On the one hand, Barry Posen makes a strong case that the U.S. should create a leaner security posture that would allow it to invest more resources at home. On the other hand, Stephen Brooks, John Ikenberry, and Bill Wohlforth argue that the cost of U.S. “deep engagement” are overstated while the benefits are many. Stephen Walt chimes in with some strong arguments in favor of the retrenchment position. Brooks et al. have a more detailed version of the argument in a forthcoming article in International Security.


Should be good read.

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  • Sylvia

    Here's a new book that looks interesting for future discussions:
    Naím, Moisés (2013). The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be. Here's a link:

    The author is the former editor of Foreign Policy magazine, and a former Venezuelan cabinet member. He is currently at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

    “Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Naím argues that global institutions of power are losing their ability to command respect. Whether considering institutions of government, military, religion or business, the author believes their power to be in the process of decaying…. A data-packed, intriguing analysis.” -- from Kirkus Reviews

    March 18, 2013

  • Verlaine

    Good to see you. Really enjoyed this intellectual exchange!

    March 8, 2013

  • Alexander Y.

    Looks like I will have to bow out.

    March 6, 2013

  • Marilyn

    I'm looking forward learning the authors' take on democracy.

    March 4, 2013

  • Mark N.

    I have something else scheduled.

    February 3, 2013

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