Monday, September 9, 2013
This talk will address two core questions relevant to understanding America’s role in the international system: (1) what is the nature of today’s international system and how powerful will America be during the next several decades? and (2) what grand strategic choice should America now make – namely, should the US should now “come home” and pull back from its overseas commitments or should it remain deeply engaged in the security and economic affairs of other regions? The financial crisis of 2008 rapidly accelerated expectations of a coming post-American, multipolar world. In the first part of this talk, we undertake a scholarly analysis of America’s place in the international system that directly challenges this predominant narrative; we articulate a starkly contrasting assessment of the US position. In the second part of the talk, we will then analyze the debate over the future direction of US foreign policy. Most scholars writing on the future of grand strategy today have strongly advanced the argument that the US should now retrench. Our position is that they are mistaken.