We need a new Grand Strategy that puts our national interest first. This new Feature collates some of the best articles, books, podcasts, clips, and more on how America can move toward a foreign policy based in realism.
In this feature, you’ll read, watch, and listen to a small selection of curated articles, conversations, and exposés on the important issues surrounding American foreign policy. Broken down into separate sections, we begin by exploring it from a birds-eye view—starting by highlighting our recent podcast episode with expert John Allen Gay who discusses the history of American foreign policy, the legacy of Endless War in the Middle East, China, Russia, and more. Enjoy!
NEW—SPOTLIGHT ON UKRAINE AND RUSSIA [Updated June 7, 2022]:
- Podcast | Please Don’t Get Us Into Another War (feat. John Allen Gay) | American Moment
- In today’s “Moment of Truth,” Saurabh, Nick and guest John Allen Gay, Executive Director of the John Quincy Adams Society, discuss Russia, China, the Middle East, and the political establishment’s addiction to foreign wars.
- Video | The Foreign Policy “Blob,” Explained | American Moment
- John Allen Gay, Executive Director of the John Quincy Adams Society, explains what the so-called foreign policy “blob” is and how a consensus of foreign adventurism and “engagement” puts American interests in danger.
- Article | Ro Khanna and Rand Paul: The Case for Restraint in American Foreign Policy | LA Times
- “By repeatedly undertaking interventions without a proper understanding of our enemy, we have weakened our national security. We need to return to the founding principles articulated by Adams; we need to craft a foreign policy that reflects our values yet does not prioritize the use of our power.”
- Article | Ending Endless War: A Pragmatic Military Strategy | Foreign Affiars
- Andrew Bacevich offers a detailed alternative to the status quo advocated by the foreign policy establishment.
- Book | Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq | Stephen Kinzer
- A former foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe and The New York Times, Stephen Kinzer provides a vivid and important history of American regime-change wars, offering a “warning as the United States seeks to define its role in the modern world.”
David Sacks on Ukraine-Russia: “The State Department Failed To Prevent The War. Now Will It Prevent The Peace?”
- Article | A Strategy for Avoiding a Two-Front War With Russia and China | The National Interest
- A. Wess Mitchell writes about how “the greatest risk facing the twenty-first-century United States, short of an outright nuclear attack, is a two-front war involving its strongest military rivals, China and Russia. Such a conflict would entail a scale of national effort and risk unseen in generations, effectively pitting America against the resources of nearly half of the Eurasian landmass.”
- Article | Why Russia and China Are Strengthening Security Ties | Foreign Affairs
- Alexander Gabuev explores whether or not the United States has played a role in driving together Russia and China.
- Video | Tucker Carlson Tonight: Glenn Greenwald on why people are afraid to speak out against US-Russia standoff | Fox News
- Glenn Greenwald joined Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss escalating tensions with Russia over Ukraine, and how Russian “collusion” hysteria fueled tensions between the US and Russia and poisoned any reasonable discussion on foreign policy in the region.
- Article | Paranoia about Trump and Russia Is Dangerous for Our Foreign Policy | CATO Institute
- Still relevant today, the effects of domestic strife over the so-called “Russiagate” scandal has left a lasting impact on US foreign policy toward Russia. “Smearing those who favor a less confrontational policy toward Moscow as puppets, traitors, and (in the case of accusations against Tulsi Gabbard) “Russian assets” will not lead to prudent policies. Persisting in such an approach will exacerbate dangerous tensions abroad and undermine needed political debate at home, writes Ted Carpenter.
- Report | The Imperative Of Prudent U.S.-Russia Policy | Defense Priorities
- This piece argues that the United States must find a way to co-exist with Russia in order to advance America’s interests, assesses Russia’s power, and offers policy recommendations going forward.
- Article | A Biden Presidency Means a Return to a Nonexistent Arctic Policy | The National Interest
- There is a big risk the new administration will not act to secure American interests in the Arctic and that Russia will take full advantage of that, writes Nick Solheim.
- Report | A New Direction In U.S.-Russia Relations? America’s Challenges & Opportunities in Dealing with Russia | CFTNI
- This longer, more in-depth report offers different perspectives on the US-Russia relationship through the lens of great power politics, Syria, Ukraine, and more.
CLIP: What is “The Blob”?
TODAY’S LIBERAL ORDER:
- Article | The Irresistible Rise of the Civilisation-State | UnHerd
- Western liberalism has no answer to assertive powers that take pride in their cultural roots, wrties Aris Roussinos at UnHerd.
- Article | Biden’s Global, Muscular Liberlaism is an Indefensible Foreign Policy in 2021 | The Washington Post
- “Global, muscular liberalism of both parties has manifestly failed to deliver the strength & broad-based prosperity to allow us to shape our future on our own terms. Americans deserve better,” writes Elbridge Colby, a principal at the Marathon Initiative.
- Podcast | Joe Biden: Just Another Liebral Internationalist | The American Conservative
- The hosts of TAC’s Empire Has No Clothes podcast discuss what a liberal internationalist foreign policy will look like in a Joe Biden administration, especially in this post-Trump era.
- Article | ‘Generation Z’ and Foreign Policy: Building a Common Vision of Restraint in a Divided Era | Real Clear Defense
- Cultivating any coherent national foreign policy won’t be possible without a common goal, concrete values, and a clear vision of what America is and should be. But a sharp generational divide provides major obstacles to this path forward, also a real chance for much-needed reform, writes Jake Mercier.
- Article | Restraining Order: For Strategic Modesty | World Affairs
- A shorter, more accessible introduction to foreign policy realism and restraint.
- Article | The Case For Offshore Balancing | Foreign Affairs
- In this piece, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that the United States should return to a more restrained grand strategy—offshore balancing.
- Book | The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy | Stephen Walt
- Stephen Walt critiques liberal hegemony and the foreign policy “blob” that continues to propagate it. Walt also criticizes Trump’s foreign policy for a failure to substantially alter the status quo. Walt offers another alternative, offshore balancing, as a new grand strategy for the United States.
- Book | Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy | Barry Posen
- “The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls liberal hegemony, one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful.” A great primer on restraint.
Video Panel: How Congress, The Military, and Executive Bureaucracy Fail Our Foreign Policy
- Article | Interests, Not Values, Should Guide America’s China Strategy | The National Interest
- America should seek to expand its coalition of allies and partners—but based on a country’s ability and will to help address interests it shares with America, not on its history with Washington or the nature of the country’s political regime, writes Elbridge Colby at The National Interest.
- Article | With Taiwan Comments, Is Biden Signaling a Two-Front War Strategy? | George Beebe in Responsible Statecraft
- The United States appears to have forgotten that aggressive intentions are not the only ways that wars begin. Conflicts can also arise from the workings of the security dilemma, when measures meant to deter aggression and defend the security of one state are perceived as threatening by another.
- Article | China and Civic Piety | American Compass
- Micah Meadowcraft makes the case that the best way to take on China is by starting right here at home—rebuilding industry and helping working-class Americans first.
- Article | Xi Jinping in Translation: China’s Guiding Ideology | Palladium Magazine
- Giving context to China’s stated guiding ideology with Xi Jinping at the helm, Tanner Greer at Palladium helps give us a glimpse into the worldview of the Chinese government in the era of Xi.
- Article | Can China Rise Peacefully? | The National Interest
- If China continues growing rapidly, the US will once again face a potential peer competitor, and great-power politics will return in full force, writes John J. Mearsheimer.
- Book | Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elites Slept | Gen. Robert Spalding
- Gen. Robert Spalding pulls back the curtain in the Stealth War to show the extent of China’s abuse of globalization and the pressing need for the West to decouple from this rising competitor.
CLIP: On the Unchecked Power of the Intelligence Community
SPOTLIGHT—THE MIDDLE EAST:
- Video | ‘No End In Sight’ Iraq War Documentary | YouTube
- This startling documentary takes you through the decisions that spiraled us further and further into a bloody war with Iraq—and shines a light on the true cost of war.
- Article | Getting Out Is Biden’s Best Syria Policy | National Review
- To think the U.S. is the key to building a modern Syrian state from scratch is to engage in poor judgment and wishful thinking, writes Dan DePetris in National Review.
- Podcast | Janky Wars, Jingoism, and Joe Biden (ft. Dan Caldwell) | Moment of Truth
- Dan Caldwell, a retired U.S. Marine and VP for Foreign Policy at Stand Together, discusses all the problems with U.S. foreign policy, including the false pretenses for our invasion of Iraq, the failed war in Afghanistan, the corrupt role the media played in all of it, and what lessons we must learn to avoid a similar fate in Europe as the Russia–Ukraine War looms.
- Article | No More Escalations: True Strength Against Iran Is Found In Restraint | The American Conservative
- “Otherwise we risk uniting Russia and China against us, among other consequences,” writes John Allen Gay.
- Article | How the Israel-UAE deal can enable US military disengagement from the Middle East | Responsible Statecraft
- “The United States needs to reduce its presence in the Middle East. Partnerships among local players can help prevent regional imbalances of power and smooth the transition to a Gulf that is secure and stable without Americans doing the securing. Supporters of strategic restraint should take heart that arrangements like the UAE-Israel deal can be a step towards less U.S. entanglement in the Middle East.”
- Study | Exiting Afghanistan: Ending America’s Longest War | Defense Priorities
- “It is not too late to declare victory over the forces that compelled the United States into the war in Afghanistan while accepting the failure to fix the conditions that kept us there for nearly two decades against better judgment,” writes Benjamin H. Friedman. His in-depth explainer offers a blueprint to exit Afghanistan and a path forward for the region.
Foreign Policy and the Right: Rand Paul’s Keynote Address at Up From Chaos
FOREIGN POLICY AND THE RIGHT:
- Podcast | Whither War and 2024 (feat. Curt Mills) | American Moment
- In this episode of Moment of Truth, Saurabh, Nick, and guest Curt Mills discuss various topics on foreign policy, including what to make of the Biden era, Trump’s foreign policy legacy and his national security advisors, China and free trade, and more.
- Article | Why Foreign Policy Restraint Has To Be Part Of The GOP’s Realignment | The American Conservative
- “The sort of voters who voted for Bernie and Trump in 2016 like restrained foreign policy. It’s popular, and it’s also popular to run against the blob…There is no issue for which there is a greater gap between what the people want and what the managers demand. The managers say they want democracy, so let’s give it to them,” writes Arthur Bloom at The American Conservative.
- Video | Panel: U.S. Foreign Policy: The Fate of Realism and Restraint in the Trump Era | The American Conservative
- On November 3, 2017, The American Conservative convened leading scholars, journalists, and policy experts to explore the outlook for realism and restraint in the Trump Era. Panelists include: Robert W. Merry, editor, The American Conservative; William Ruger, Charles Koch Institute; Mark Perry, contributing editor, The American Conservative; Moderator: Kelley Vlahos, executive editor, The American Conservative.
- Video | Panel: Four Conservative Paths From Chaos | American Moment’s Up From Chaos
- Saagar Enjeti, Sohrab Ahmari, Michael Anton, and William Ruger weigh in on the future of American foreign policy and discuss “Four Conservative Paths from Chaos” at the “Up From Chaos: Conserving American Security” Conference in Washington D.C.
Up From Chaos Panel: How The Media and their Allies Escalate Conflict
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
- Video | President Eisenhower’s Warning Against The Military-Industrial Complex | American Moment
- President Eisenhower’s dire last-minute warning against what he called ‘The Military-Industrial Complex’ still resonates today after decades of foreign adventurism and military budget bloating that has left unelected bureaucrats and career government officials with outsized power.
- Article | John Quincy Adams’ 1821 Independence Day Address
- Then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams used this speech to lay out his vision for American foreign policy. In a famous passage, he states that “[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.” His argument in this speech was that the United States should not interfere in the affairs of the European great powers, but rather focus on her own neighborhood.
- Speech | “League of Nations” Speech by Henry Cabot Lodge, 1919
- In this speech, Senator Cabot Lodge laid out a clear conception of the American national interest and the dangers of supranational institutions.