The Cato Institute’s director of foreign policy studies Justin Logan, writing at reason.com, takes apart America in Retreat, the new book from the WSJ’s chief foreign affairs writer Bret Stephens.
Logan is an expert on U.S. grand strategy, international relations theory, and American foreign policy. Here’s Justin’s review:
The Republican Party’s misfortunes in the 2006 and 2008 elections had a lot to do with the unpopularity of neoconservative foreign policy. Yet the GOP’s success in the 2014 midterms has made the party more neoconservative, with Republican hawks taking over major Senate committees.”
Throughout the book, Stephens refuses to engage with scholarship on the subjects he discusses.
The book offers a number of interesting theoretical claims that the author does nothing to support. When Stephens moves from rhetoric and polemic to clear policy prescriptions, his radical views become clear. America needs a “global ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy.” The military budget needs to go north of 5 percent of GDP: roughly $850 billion.
Thinking, learning and writing about international politics is hard, as Stephens demonstrates. But for American foreign policy to improve, one or the other party needs people in charge of that portfolio to take greater care with their research, to be more judicious in their reasoning, and more prudent with the use of American power. Stephen’s continued prominence in the conservative foreign policy establishment suggests that if such a change is to happen, it will not be in the GOP.
Advantage Logan! I see little chance that the Republican nominee for president in 2016 will track anything but an interventionist, world’s policeman course. Such a course, since the closing days of WWII, has yielded nothing but distressing results with little to show for the tens of thousands of American deaths and family misery.
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