A bold and urgent perspective on how American foreign policy must change in response to the shifting world order of the twenty-first century, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Limits of Power and The Age of Illusions.
The purpose of U.S. foreign policy has, at least theoretically, been to keep Americans safe. Yet as we confront a radically changed world, it has become indisputably clear that the terms of that policy have failed. Washington’s insistence that a market economy is compatible with the common good, its faith in the idea of the “West” and its “special relationships,” its conviction that global military primacy is the key to a stable and sustainable world order—these have brought endless wars and a succession of moral and material disasters.
In a bold reconception of America’s place in the world, informed by thinking from across the political spectrum, Andrew J. Bacevich—founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a bipartisan Washington think tank dedicated to foreign policy—lays down a new approach—one that is based on moral pragmatism, mutual coexistence, and war as a last resort. Confronting the threats of the future—accelerating climate change, a shift in the international balance of power, and the ascendance of information technology over brute weapons of war—his vision calls for nothing less than a profound overhaul of our understanding of national security.
Crucial and provocative, After the Apocalypse sets out new principles to guide the once-but-no-longer sole superpower as it navigates a transformed world.
In this excoriating call for change, Bacevich (The Age of Illusions), the cofounder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, links the U.S. government's disastrous response to Covid-19 to faulty national security policies built on the myth of American exceptionalism. He cites the brouhaha over a U.S. Navy captain's raising of the alarm about the spread of Covid-19 among his crew members as evidence that the military establishment misperceives threats and misallocates resources, and explains how the prioritization of national security over national defense has resulted in such "dubious" actions as the dumping of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Bacevich also describes the 2002 invasion of Iraq as "a classic case of fears... riding roughshod over facts," and calls on the U.S. to "normaliz" relations with Israel and stop subsidizing the country's military. Other policy suggestions include withdrawing from NATO "within the next decade" and building a North American Security Zone with Mexico and Canada. Bacevich has covered much of this ground before, and the connections to Covid-19 sometimes seem tenuous, but his arguments are well-informed and stoked by a sense of moral outrage (his son was killed in Iraq in 2007). Readers will agree that U.S. foreign policy needs a massive rethink.
Fast and ez read. Well done.
Might make a decent Op Ed, but nothing more
Not much in the way of deep thinking or insightful analyses