Recently Charles Krauthammer received an award from the American Enterprise Institute and gave a fascinating lecture which is now posted on the AEI website. In it, he argued that in our unipolar world, the United States must develop a forward strategy in foreign policy. He discussed the various alternatives that we have utilized over the last century or two and then comes to his conclusion. The only viable policy is that of Democratic Globalism, or in practice, Democratic Realism. Here is a taste:
What is the unipolar power to do?
Four schools, four answers.
The isolationists want simply to ignore unipolarity, pull up the drawbridge, and defend Fortress America. Alas, the Fortress has no moat--not after the airplane, the submarine, the ballistic missile--and as for the drawbridge, it was blown up on 9/11.
Then there are the liberal internationalists. They like to dream, and to the extent they are aware of our unipolar power, they don’t like it. They see its use for anything other than humanitarianism or reflexive self-defense as an expression of national selfishness. And they don’t just want us to ignore our unique power, they want us to yield it piece by piece, by subsuming ourselves in a new global architecture in which America becomes not the arbiter of international events, but a good and tame international citizen.
Then there is realism, which has the clearest understanding of the new unipolarity and its uses--unilateral and preemptive if necessary. But in the end, it fails because it offers no vision. It is all means and no ends. It cannot adequately define our mission.
Hence, the fourth school: democratic globalism. It has, in this decade, rallied the American people to a struggle over values. It seeks to vindicate the American idea by making the spread of democracy, the success of liberty, the ends and means of American foreign policy.
I support that. I applaud that. But I believe it must be tempered in its universalistic aspirations and rhetoric from a democratic globalism to a democratic realism. It must be targeted, focused and limited. We are friends to all, but we come ashore only where it really counts. And where it counts today is that Islamic crescent stretching from North Africa to Afghanistan.
It is a long but extremely interesting read and a most timely reminder that in the coming years, we must come to some sort of conclusion. Eventually our own citizens will begin to feel less and less encouraged to support action over seas if there is no coherent doctrine guiding those endeavors. Krauthammer does a very nice job framing the discussion. Read the whole thing. That is all.