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Nothing about this picture is new or controversial. Some may worry about it more than others, but it is now commonly accepted that the US is downsizing its international role, and that the administration, the Congress, and the general public are more absorbed with domestic concerns than with foreign challenges or threats.
One important question we face today, however, more than five years into the Obama presidency, is whether the current policy of retrenchment is a standard correction after a period of maximalism, or something else. But public attitudes and resource constraints will nonetheless probably prevent any administration from swinging too far in the opposite direction.
An expansive maximalist policy would risk making commitments that exceed our power and resources, and in any event it is not what is needed to achieve balance between realism—meaning the defense of our critical national interests—and idealism—meaning the advance of democracy and freedom in the world.
The first challenge—reaffirming the historic American commitment to freedom in the world—involves making it clear that we will do whatever we can to support people fighting for fundamental rights, even as we recognize that they must take responsibility for their own success or failure.
For many reasons, democracy is seen to be on the defensive today. In fact, though, the prospect for democracy in the world is actually much more promising than it appears, and there are opportunities for progress in the years ahead that could be encouraged by a more forward-leaning policy.
The number of electoral democracies now stands at one hundred and twenty-two countries, just one below the high-water mark of one hundred and twenty-three reached in and four more than in It also appears that Tunisia could become the first Arab democracy, a beachhead in the region of the world most resistant to democratic change.
The road ahead for such reform movements and civic groups working for democratic change will be long and very difficult, but they are a natural by-product of a world in which people have more access to information and higher aspirations and will not disappear.
The challenge for the United States is to help create the conditions that will allow such movements to survive and to grow.
Institutions already exist to provide them with material and technical assistance. The National Endowment for Democracy, which I oversee, is one of them.
As important as it is to support people on the front lines of the struggle for freedom, however, such support will not be meaningful if the United States is perceived as a declining power in retreat from the world. Democracy will not be able to advance in the absence of a stable international order, and such conditions cannot exist if they are not underwritten by American leadership.
This does not mean draining our resources by getting bogged down in distant wars. But it does mean backing up our diplomacy with military power and deterrence, in the absence of which we will have little leverage in negotiations with countries that do not share our commitment to peace and the rule of law.
Why should they negotiate seriously if they feel they have the option of achieving their objectives by other means, including the use of force? Committing ourselves to preserving US leadership in the world is, therefore, the second major challenge for US policy.
This is not an expression of American arrogance or a reckless form of overreaching. Rather, it is the recognition of a fundamental geopolitical reality. But continued US primacy is simply not possible unless we address a third critical challenge, which is to bring the spiraling US public debt under control.
While there are many reasons for the continuing surge in public debt, including the fiscal crisis and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the principal factor has been the growth of entitlement spending, which has gone from less than one-third of the federal budget a half-century ago to more than two-thirds today.
In the words of Robert J. The challenge we face today is as great as any in our history. Our national security and the values we cherish, in addition to the future of democracy in the world, rest on our ability to rise to this occasion.
Carl Gershman is the president of the National Endowment for Democracy.The United States should be involved in foreign affairs such as diplomacy and showing the rest of the world how a peaceful democracy works. What doesn't need to happen is the U.S.
military continually responding to emergencies all over the planet like a service. QUIZ 3: FOREIGN POLICY. grupobittia.comy Unit 7. STUDY. PLAY. The increased United States involvement in world affairs included which of the following five ways: Boxer Rebellion Open-Door Policy Spanish-American War Japanese-Russian settlement Algeciras Conference.
OTHER SETS . But the attack on Iraq and the war in Afghanistan have raised an important question: What role should the U.S.
play in world affairs? Defending the Free World For nearly 50 years after World War II, the U.S. made defense of the "free world" the primary aim of its foreign policy. North Korea has no embassy in Washington, DC, but it is represented in the United States through its mission to the United Nations in New York.
More information about North Korea is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here.
A near-majority of Americans say the United States should become less active in world affairs, a dramatic change from the post-9/11 national environment and one that comes as President Barack. “A world without US primacy,” Samuel Huntington once wrote, “will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country in shaping global affairs.”.