In This Review

Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order
Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order
By Robert J. Lieber
152 pp, Cambridge University Press, 2016
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The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
By Eliot A. Cohen
304 pp, Basic Books, 2016
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Should the United States commit its unrivaled power to spreading democracy and cementing Washington’s leadership of the liberal international order that has provided decades of stability and security but has come under increasing strain in recent years? Or would U.S. interests be better served by less American intervention in world affairs—and, in particular, by less exertion of U.S. military force? Theorists and policymakers have argued over those questions for decades, especially since the end of the Cold War. During the past eight years, the Obama administration has changed the terms of the debate by pursuing a strategy of retrenchment. President Barack Obama has sought to reduce U.S. involvement overseas and has moved away from the interventionist strategy of preserving liberal hegemony, arguably shifting closer to something resembling “offshore balancing.” And President-elect Donald Trump could take U.S. foreign policy even further in that direction. That

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  • KORI SCHAKE is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is the editor, with Jim Mattis, of Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military. Follow her on Twitter @KoriSchake.
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