In the face of unrelenting economic troubles at home, Americans have grown increasingly weary of serving as the world’s policeman. Troops are coming home, military spending is being slashed, and surveillance programs are being exposed and curtailed. Yet from eastern Ukraine to northern Iraq to the South China Sea, the world is entering a new era of risk, instability, and war.
In America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder, distinguished columnist and editor Bret Stephens makes a compelling case that there is a direct connection between rising global instability and America’s diminishing international footprint.
Stephens expertly traces the history of U.S. foreign policy from the disastrous isolationism of the 1930s, through the sober realism of the Cold War, to the dangerous excess of idealism that typified the post-Cold War presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Today, as Americans seek to withdraw further from the world to tend to domestic problems, America’s adversaries spy opportunity.
Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Bret Stephens is the foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal.