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The Case for Strategic Disengagement

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Characteristic of American foreign policy since World War II has been the quest for a certain minimum of world order and a practical maximum of American control. Successive schemes for the regulation of power—collective security, bipolar confrontation, and now perhaps the balance of power—have differed in their objects and style. But interventionism—structuring the external political-military environment and determining the behavior of other nations, whether in collaboration, conflict or contention with them—has been the main underlying dimension of our policy. There has been no serious substantive challenge to this premise since the eve of our entry into World War II. The last "great debate," in 1951, over the dispatch of American troops to Europe, was about implementation and constitutional procedure.

How the world might look now had the United States not exercised itself for these 30 years, and how it might look 30 years from now if we were to

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