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Rethinking America’s Role in the World: New Challenges in ‘an Age of Disorder’

© AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, FileThe White House is viewed from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
The White House is viewed from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. - Sputnik International
As the presidential race in the US kicks into gear, more and more news media are expounding on America’s role in the changing world and further focusing on its foreign policy.

“American primacy, as we know it, is dead,” Barry Gewen, an editor at the New York Times Book Review states in his analytical piece for The National Interest magazine.

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“Those who seek its restoration by doubling down in their support of “democrats” in trouble spots around the world are chasing a mirage, as are those who promise to make America great again by… whatever. America was great. It remains great. But it will never have the authority or power that it enjoyed following the Second World War, and Washington would be wise to husband the power it does have,” he further elaborates.

The author advises the US policymakers to borrow the formula of one of the major twentieth-century of international politics scientist, Hans Morgenthau, and “learn to distinguish, first, between what is essential in foreign affairs and what is desirable, and, second, between what is desirable and what is possible.”

The US therefore should find ways to coexist with other great powers — Russia and China at the present time; possibly India, Indonesia, Japan and Brazil in the future.

“And that means understanding that those countries have national interests of their own that one ignores at one’s peril, even when they clash with American values.”

To view compromise and accommodation as diminutions of power while invoking images of Munich is a dangerous exercise, he warns.

His view is echoed by the US-based website Christian Science Monitor.

In his analytical piece on the recent criticism of Republican nominee Donald Trump of the US’ costly military interventions abroad, author Simon Montlake admits that “prominent intellectuals have also criticized American interventionism abroad. But the ideals they espouse have been largely lost in the backlash against Trump.”

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Writing about Trump’s approach, he says that it “represents a sharp detour from the longstanding bipartisan belief in a US-led liberal international order as a source of national strength.”

Trump, the author says, is by no means alone, however.

“Prominent intellectuals have also sought to persuade Americans to rethink their country’s role in the world.”

He further refers to Stephen Walt, a professor of international studies at Harvard University and prominent critic of US military interventions, who wrote for Foreign Policy’s website that Trump was “just about the worst salesman for an alternative foreign policy that one could possible imagine.”

Trump’s foreign policy is riddled with so many contradictions that the isolationism he and other politicians espouse has mostly been lost in the anti-Trump backlash, according to Montlake.

This has sparked great frustration on the part of proponents who see a moment ripe for change amid public weariness of foreign entanglements and nation-building, as well as the cost of deploying the world’s largest military.

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