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Losing the Peace

- Abstract

For most of its history American foreign policy has been isolationist, a tradition broken decisively only in 1948 in response to Soviet imperialism. It was natural, then, that the disappearance of the Soviet empire would spawn a recrudescence of isolationism. The new growth, moreover, has been fertilized by economic hard times and warmed by the hothouse environment of a presidential election campaign.

Despite the hospitable circumstances, however, most of the purer strains of isolationism have failed to take root. Patrick J. Buchanan, in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, promised to “put America first” by cutting trade, immigration, aid, and the U.S. political/ military presence abroad. But Republican primary voters seem to have recognized that America already was “first,” and that Buchanan’s platform would only squander that position. And on the Democratic side, Senator Robert Kerrey’s pledge to guard American shores like a hockey goalkeeper, deflecting any Sonys or Hondas the Japanese might shoot our way, was laughed out of the race.

About the Author

Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is working on a book about Arab and Muslim democrats.