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A Promising Start

Korea: A Promising Start

President Donald Trump’s foreign policy team deserves credit for its work on China and North Korea. With hostilities, atrocities and weapons programs escalating around the globe, there was reason for relief when the Obama/Clinton/Kerry chapter in American foreign policy came to an end. But, based on Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric, there was also reason to…

America Faces a World of Trouble

America Faces a World of Trouble

Americans, their new president and his team, and the 115th Congress face a world that, in former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s memorable words, is “exploding all over.” New Secretary of Defense James Mattis asserted in his confirmation hearing that the world order “is under the biggest threat since WWII.” Hostilities, atrocities and weapons programs…

Since the Iraq War

Since the Iraq War

Since the Iraq War, many, if not most, Americans have succumbed to the either-or assumption that either we refrain from an active foreign policy or we’ll end up with “boots on the ground.” They recoil from attempts to influence events and ideas in dangerous parts of the world, fearing that influence will translate into military…

A Preview to Obama’s Final UN Speech


President Obama’s September 2009 speech at the United Nations General Assembly implicitly rejected both the idea that the United States has done anything exceptional for political freedom, and the idea that political freedom is an appropriate priority for US foreign policy. The speech instead emphasized shared “interests” and “collective action”; indeed, the words interests and collective appeared…

Why I Wrote ‘A Perilous Path’

Iran Protests 2009

At about the time of President Obama’s first inauguration, I began to compile material for a book on the foreign policy speeches of presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. I felt no urgency. But as the foreign policy approach of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was articulated and put into…

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