Foreign Policy Essay

The need to address domestic inequalities is certainly an issue where common ground can emerge, even if differences over specific policy prescriptions would remain.

It would appear that the two sides have markedly different views toward patriotism, but it isn’t clear why that needs to be the case.

The essays are not some version of neoconservatism meets liberal internationalism reminiscent of the 1999 Kosovo War or the 2003 Iraq War.

Rather, they highlight the way in which the so-called blob has either shifted or fractured over the past two decades.

New America’s Heather Hurlburt writes of “fostering a patriotism in which diverse identities belong and flourish.” This should not be controversial, but we have seen in American politics that it has become so in some quarters, particularly in the ugly sentiments underlying Trump’s fixation on a “wall” on the southern border.

Nevertheless, when Fonte talks about “America’s sovereignty and way of life,” this could certainly be consistent with Hurlburt’s notion of a patriotism consisting of diverse identities.This reveals the possibilities of a new consensus that reaches less quickly for the use of force than when the United States was at the height of its post-Cold War power.Second, with respect to trade, progressives and conservatives need to ask themselves whether the United States was correct to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.A progressive strategy may seek to build a free world that reduces inequality and put some limits on market forces, whereas a conservative strategy may seek to reduce regulations.Reasonable people can differ about the type of free world strategy they want to build.While the academic consensus across the political spectrum still seems to support free trade as a general principle (with public opinion following suit), there is strong political sentiment on both sides favoring greater protectionism to address job losses, particularly in the Midwest.Points of Convergence and Divergence The greatest point of convergence across these two roundtables is the centrality of democracy and the rule of law.The essays on the progressive side are more unanimous on the need to reduce military spending, with defense expert Loren De Jonge Schulman of the Center for a New American Security arguing, “Despite the valiant efforts of some individuals, there is no political home for responsible defense debate, oversight, and accountability.” But even amid the discussions of strong defense and occasional support for military superiority in the conservative roundtable, some of these essays exhibit a growing recognition of military limits. Nau writes, “America stands for freedom but not everywhere at once, respecting the limits of public resources and will” — a far cry from President George W.Bush’s declaration in his second inaugural that “it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” Many progressives would nod approvingly at the Cato Institute’s Emma Ashford’s comment that “Restraint is an approach to the world that is fundamentally internationalist, but that deemphasizes military means of foreign engagement in favor of diplomacy and other tools of statecraft.” Between the two roundtables, the progressives favor international institutions in a way that conservatives do not (with John Fonte of the Hudson Institute cheering Trump’s rejection of the “false flag of globalism”).Those scholars (and politicians) still fighting the foreign policy establishment over the folly of the Iraq War should take note of the growing belief among many progressives and conservatives that the United States should be engaged in fewer military interventions in the world given the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.What is missing from the essays in these roundtables is noticeable: There is very little concrete discussion in either roundtable of the conditions under which the United States use military force, especially for missions not tied strictly to the national defense, or of the type of trading relationships the United States ought to maintain, beyond general references to free trade or protectionism.


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