America and the World: The Next Four Years: Confronting the Problems
“CRITICAL” is one of those adjectives whose value has been severely depreciated by overuse, yet in speaking of the importance of future developments in American foreign policy no other word will do. For a long time now the United States has been so preoccupied with internal problems that foreign policy has seemed an unwelcome intrusion. The world, however, has not been able to wait patiently for the United States to sort out its domestic difficulties. In the past few years there has been a marked deterioration in the position of both America and its allies-politically, militarily, and economically-and new problems have by now emerged on top of the old familiar ones which still remain unresolved. Thus the Carter administration has come into office at-precisely-a critical moment, and the question arises as to how well it is equipped to cope. Although in certain areas it has made what appear to be bold moves, it remains to be seen how much of this is rhetoric and how much is real, and whether what is real is of value. The truth is that the setbacks suffered in recent years have caused the margin for experiment to shrink considerably, and the apprenticeship of the new administration is therefore likely to be either very short or very costly; one hopes it will not be both.
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