U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress

Updated May 7, 2020 (R44891)
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Summary

The U.S. role in the world refers to the overall character, purpose, or direction of U.S. participation in international affairs and the country's overall relationship to the rest of the world. The U.S. role in the world can be viewed as establishing the overall context or framework for U.S. policymakers for developing, implementing, and measuring the success of U.S. policies and actions on specific international issues, and for foreign countries or other observers for interpreting and understanding U.S. actions on the world stage.

While descriptions of the U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II vary in their specifics, it can be described in general terms as consisting of four key elements: global leadership; defense and promotion of the liberal international order; defense and promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights; and prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia.

The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. role in the world is changing, and if so, what implications this might have for the United States and the world. A change in the U.S. role could have significant and even profound effects on U.S. security, freedom, and prosperity. It could significantly affect U.S. policy in areas such as relations with allies and other countries, defense plans and programs, trade and international finance, foreign assistance, and human rights.

Some observers, particularly critics of the Trump Administration, argue that under the Trump Administration, the United States is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world. Other observers, particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, while acknowledging that the Trump Administration has changed U.S. foreign policy in a number of areas compared to policies pursued by the Obama Administration, argue that under the Trump Administration, there has been less change and more continuity regarding the U.S. role in the world.

Some observers who assess that the United States under the Trump Administration is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world—particularly critics of the Trump Administration, and also some who were critical of the Obama Administration—view the implications of that change as undesirable. They view the change as an unnecessary retreat from U.S. global leadership and a gratuitous discarding of long-held U.S. values, and judge it to be an unforced error of immense proportions—a needless and self-defeating squandering of something of great value to the United States that the United States had worked to build and maintain for 70 years.

Other observers who assess that there has been a change in the U.S. role in the world in recent years—particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, but also some observers who were arguing even prior to the Trump Administration in favor of a more restrained U.S. role in the world—view the change in the U.S. role, or at least certain aspects of it, as helpful for responding to changed U.S. and global circumstances and for defending U.S. values and interests, particularly in terms of adjusting the U.S. role to one that is more realistic regarding what the United States can accomplish, enhancing deterrence of potential regional aggression by making potential U.S. actions less predictable to potential adversaries, reestablishing respect for national sovereignty as a guidepost for U.S. foreign policy and for organizing international affairs, and encouraging U.S. allies and security partners in Eurasia to do more to defend themselves.

Congress's decisions regarding the U.S. role in the world could have significant implications for numerous policies, plans, programs, and budgets, and for the role of Congress relative to that of the executive branch in U.S. foreign policymaking.


Introduction

This report provides background information and issues for Congress regarding the U.S. role in the world, meaning the overall character, purpose, or direction of U.S. participation in international affairs and the country's overall relationship to the rest of the world. The U.S. role in the world can be viewed as establishing the overall context or framework for U.S. policymakers for developing, implementing, and measuring the success of U.S. policies and actions on specific international issues, and for foreign countries or other observers for interpreting and understanding U.S. actions on the world stage.

Some observers perceive that after remaining generally stable for a period of more than 70 years (i.e., since the end of World War II in 1945), the U.S. role in the world under the Trump Administration is undergoing a potentially historic change. A change in the U.S. role in the world could have significant and even profound effects on U.S. security, freedom, and prosperity. It could significantly affect U.S. policy in areas such as relations with allies and other countries, defense plans and programs, trade and international finance, foreign assistance, and human rights.

The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. role in the world is changing, and if so, what implications this might have for the United States and the world. Congress's decisions regarding the U.S. role in the world could have significant implications for numerous policies, plans, programs, and budgets, and for the role of Congress relative to that of the executive branch in U.S. foreign policymaking.

A variety of other CRS reports address in greater depth specific international issues mentioned in this report. Appendix A provides a glossary of some key terms used in this report, such as international order or regional hegemon. For convenience, this report uses the term U.S. role as a shorthand for referring to the U.S. role in the world.

Background

Overview of U.S. Role: Four Key Elements

While descriptions of the U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II vary in their specifics, it can be described in general terms as consisting of four key elements:

  • global leadership;
  • defense and promotion of the liberal international order;
  • defense and promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights; and
  • prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia.

The following sections provide brief discussions of these four key elements.

Global Leadership

The U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II is generally described, first and foremost, as one of global leadership, meaning that the United States tends to be the first or most important country for identifying or framing international issues, taking actions to address those issues, setting an example for other countries to follow, organizing and implementing multilateral efforts to address international issues, and enforcing international rules and norms.

Observers over the years have referred to U.S. global leadership using various terms, some of which reflect varying degrees of approval or disapproval of this aspect of the U.S. role. Examples of such terms (other than global leader itself) include leader of the free world, superpower, indispensable power, system administrator, hyperpower, world policeman, or world hegemon.

The U.S. role of global leadership has resulted in extensive U.S. involvement in international affairs, and this, too, has been described with various phrases. The United States has been described as pursuing an internationalist foreign policy; a foreign policy of global engagement or deep engagement; a foreign policy that provides global public goods; a foreign policy of liberal order building, liberal internationalism, or liberal hegemony; an interventionist foreign policy; or a foreign policy of seeking primacy or world hegemony.

Defense and Promotion of Liberal International Order

A second key element of the U.S. role in the world since World War II—one that can be viewed as inherently related to the first key element above—has been to defend and promote the liberal international order1 that the United States, with the support of its allies, created in the years after World War II. Although definitions of the liberal international order vary, key elements of it are generally said to include the following:

  • respect for the territorial integrity of countries, and the unacceptability of changing international borders by force or coercion;
  • a preference for resolving disputes between countries peacefully, without the use or threat of use of force or coercion, and in a manner consistent with international law;
  • respect for international law, global rules and norms, and universal values, including human rights;
  • strong international institutions for supporting and implementing international law, global rules and norms, and universal values;
  • the use of liberal (i.e., rules-based) international trading and investment systems to advance open, rules-based economic engagement, development, growth, and prosperity; and
  • the treatment of international waters, international air space, outer space, and (more recently) cyberspace as international commons rather than domains subject to national sovereignty.

Most of the key elements above (arguably, all but the final one) can be viewed collectively as forming what is commonly referred to as a rules-based international order. A traditional antithesis of a rules-based order is a might-makes-right order (sometimes colloquially referred to as the law of the jungle), which is an international order (or a situation lacking in order) in which more powerful countries routinely impose their will arbitrarily on less-powerful countries, organizations, and individuals, with little or no regard to rules.

Though often referred to as if it is a fully developed or universally established situation, the liberal international order, like other international orders that preceded it, is

  • incomplete in geographic reach and in other ways;
  • partly aspirational;
  • not fixed in stone, but rather subject to evolution over time;
  • sometimes violated by its supporters;
  • not entirely free of might-makes-right behavior;
  • resisted or rejected by certain states and nonstate actors; and
  • subject to various stresses and challenges.

Some observers, emphasizing points like those above, argue that the liberal international order is more of a myth than a reality. Other observers, particularly supporters of the order, while acknowledging the limitations of the order, reject characterizations of it as a myth and emphasize its differences from international orders that preceded it.

As mentioned above, the liberal international order was created by the United States with the support of its allies in the years immediately after World War II. At that time, the United States was the only country with both the capacity and willingness to establish a new international order. U.S. willingness to establish and play a leading role in maintaining the liberal international order is generally viewed as reflecting a desire by U.S. policymakers to avoid repeating the deadly major wars and widespread economic disruption and deprivation of the first half of the 20th century—a period that included World War I, the Great Depression, the rise of communism and fascism, the Ukrainian famine, the Holocaust, and World War II.

U.S. willingness to establish and play a leading role in maintaining the liberal international order is also generally viewed as an act of national self-interest, reflecting a belief among U.S. policymakers that it would strongly serve U.S. security, political, and economic objectives. Supporters of the liberal international order generally argue that in return for bearing the costs of creating and sustaining the liberal international order, the United States receives significant security, political, and economic benefits, including the maintenance of a favorable balance of power on both a global and regional level, and a leading or dominant role in establishing and operating global institutions and rules for international finance and trade. Indeed, some critics of the liberal international order argue that it is primarily a construct for serving U.S. interests and promoting U.S. world primacy or hegemony. The costs and benefits for the United States of defending and promoting the liberal international order, however, are a matter of debate.

Defense and Promotion of Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights

A third key element of the U.S. role in the world since World War II has been to defend and promote freedom, democracy, and human rights as universal values, while criticizing and resisting authoritarian and illiberal forms of government where possible. This element of the U.S. role is viewed as consistent not only with core U.S. political values but also with a theory advanced by some observers (sometimes called the democratic peace theory) that democratic countries are more responsive to the desires of their populations and consequently are less likely to wage wars of aggression or go to war with one another.

Defending and promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights is additionally viewed as a key component of U.S. soft power, because it can encourage like-minded governments, as well as organizations and individuals in other countries, to work with the United States, and because it has the potential to shape the behavior of authoritarian and illiberal governments that are acting against U.S. interests by shaming those governments and inspiring prodemocracy organizations and individuals within those countries.

Prevention of Emergence of Regional Hegemons in Eurasia

A fourth element of the U.S. role in the world since World War II—one that U.S. policymakers do not often state explicitly in public—has been to oppose the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia. This objective reflects a U.S. perspective on geopolitics and grand strategy developed by U.S. strategists and policymakers during and in the years immediately after World War II that incorporates two key judgments:

  • that given the amount of people, resources, and economic activity in Eurasia, a regional hegemon in Eurasia would represent a concentration of power large enough to be able to threaten vital U.S. interests; and
  • that Eurasia is not dependably self-regulating in terms of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons, meaning that the countries of Eurasia cannot be counted on to be able to prevent, though their own actions, the emergence of regional hegemons, and may need assistance from one or more countries outside Eurasia to be able to do this dependably.2

Preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia is sometimes also referred to as preserving a division of power in Eurasia, or as preventing key regions in Eurasia from coming under the domination of a single power, or as preventing the emergence of a spheres-of-influence world, which could be a consequence of the emergence of one or more regional hegemons in Eurasia.

U.S. actions that can be viewed as expressions of the U.S. goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • U.S. participation in World War I,3 World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War;4
  • U.S. alliances and security partnerships, including
  • the NATO alliance, which was established in large part to deter and counter attempts by the Soviet Union (now Russia) to become a regional hegemon in Europe;
  • U.S. alliances with countries in East Asia and the Pacific, which were established in large part to deter and counter attempts by the Soviet Union or China to become a regional hegemon in East Asia; and
  • U.S. security partnerships with countries in the Persian Gulf region, which were established in large part to deter or counter attempts by Iran or the Soviet Union (now Russia) to become a regional hegemon in that region; and
  • additional U.S. political, diplomatic, and economic actions to contain and oppose the Soviet Union during the Cold War, including the Marshall Plan and subsequent U.S. foreign assistance programs.

In pursuing the goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia, U.S. policymakers have sometimes decided to work with or support nondemocratic regimes that for their own reasons view Russia, China, or Iran as competitors or adversaries. As a consequence, the goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Asia has sometimes been in tension with defending and promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Changes over Time

Although the U.S. role in the world was generally stable over the past 70 years, the specifics of U.S. foreign policy for implementing that role have changed frequently for various reasons, including changes in administrations and changes in the international security environment. Definitions of the U.S. role have room within them to accommodate some variation in the specifics of U.S. foreign policy.

Long-Standing Debate over Its Merits

The fact that the U.S. role in the world has been generally stable over the past 70 years does not necessarily mean that this role was the right one for the United States, or that it would be the right one in the future. Although the role the United States has played in the world since the end of World War II has many defenders, it also has critics, and the merits of that role have been a matter of long-standing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public, with critics offering potential alternative concepts for the U.S. role in the world.

The most prominent dimension of the debate is whether the United States should attempt to continue playing the active internationalist role that it has played for the past 70 years, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs. A number of critics of the U.S. role in the world over the past 70 years have offered multiple variations on the idea of a more restrained U.S. role. (For additional discussion, see Appendix B.)

A second major dimension within the debate over the future U.S. role concerns how to balance or combine the pursuit of narrowly defined material U.S. interests with the goal of defending and promoting U.S. or universal values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights. A third major dimension concerns the balance in U.S. foreign policy between the use of hard power and soft power. Observers debating these two dimensions of the future U.S. role in the world stake out varying positions on these questions.

Issues for Congress

The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. role in the world is changing, and if so, what implications this might have for the United States and the world. The sections below provide some discussion of this issue.

Is the United States Changing Its Role?

There currently are multiple views on the question of whether the United States under the Trump Administration is changing the U.S. role in the world, some of which are outlined briefly below.

Some Observers Believe the United States Is Changing Its Role

Some observers, particularly critics of the Trump Administration, argue that under the Trump Administration, the United States is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world by altering some or all of the four key elements of the U.S. role described earlier. Although views among these observers vary in their specifics, a number of these observers argue that the Administration's America First construct, its emphasis on national sovereignty as a primary guidepost for U.S. foreign policy, and other Administration actions and statements form a new U.S. role characterized by

  • a voluntary retreat from or abdication of global leadership,
  • a greater reliance on unilateralism,
  • a reduced willingness to work through international or multilateral institutions and agreements,
  • an acceptance of U.S. isolation or near-isolation on certain international issues,
  • a more skeptical view of the value of alliances to the United States,
  • a less-critical view of certain authoritarian or illiberal governments,
  • a reduced or more selective approach to promoting and defending certain universal values,
  • the elevation of bilateral trade balances, commercial considerations, monetary transactions, and ownership of assets such as oil above other foreign policy considerations, and
  • an implicit tolerance of the reemergence of aspects of a might-makes-right international order.

In support of this view, these observers cite various Administration actions and statements, including, among other things

  • the Administration's decisions to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade agreement, the multilateral Paris climate agreement, and the Iran nuclear agreement;
  • its earlier proposals for reducing State Department funding and foreign assistance funding, and delays in filling senior State Department positions;
  • the President's skeptical statements regarding the value to the United States of certain U.S. alliances (particularly with European countries and South Korea) and more generally his apparent transactional and monetary-focused approach to understanding and managing alliance relationships;
  • what these observers view as the President's affinity for certain authoritarian or illiberal leaders, as well as his apparent reluctance to criticize Russia and his apparent continued desire to seek improved relations with Russia, despite Russian actions judged by U.S. intelligence agencies and other observers to have been directed against the United States and overseas U.S. interests;
  • the President's decision, announced by the Administration on October 6, 2019, to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria;
  • the Administration's focus on pursuing bilateral trade negotiations with various countries; and
  • the Administration's infrequent or inconsistent statements in support of democracy and human rights, including the Administration's reaction to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the President's statements regarding the prodemocracy protests in Hong Kong.

Other Observers Disagree

Other observers, particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, disagree with some or all of the perspective above. While acknowledging that the Trump Administration has changed U.S. foreign policy in a number of areas compared to policies pursued by the Obama Administration, these observers argue that under the Trump Administration, there has been less change and more continuity regarding the U.S. role in the world. In support of this view, these observers cite, among other things

  • the Administration's December 2017 national security strategy (NSS) document and its January 2018 unclassified summary of its supporting national defense strategy (NDS) document—large portions of which refer to U.S. leadership, a general emphasis on great power competition with China and Russia, and strong support for U.S. alliances;
  • Administration statements reaffirming U.S. support for NATO, as well as Administration actions to improve U.S. military capabilities in Europe for deterring potential Russian aggression in Europe;
  • the Administration's willingness to impose and maintain a variety of sanctions on Russia;
  • the Administration's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) construct for guiding U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific region;
  • the Administration's more confrontational policy toward China, including its plan to increase funding for U.S. foreign assistance programs to compete against China for influence in Africa, Asia, and the Americas;
  • U.S. trade actions that, in the view of these observers, are intended to make free trade more sustainable over the long run by ensuring that it is fair to all parties, including the United States; and
  • the Administration's (admittedly belated) support of Hong Kong's prodemocracy protestors, its criticism of China's human rights practices toward its Muslim Uyghur population, and its emphasis on religious freedom as a component of human rights.

Still Other Observers See a Mixed or Confusing Situation

Still other observers, viewing points made by both of the above sets of observers, see a mixed or confusing situation regarding whether the United States under the Trump Administration is changing the U.S. role in the world. For these observers, whether the U.S. role is changing is difficult to discern, in part because what they view as incoherence or contradictions in the Administration's foreign policies and in part because the President's apparent views on certain issues—such as the value of U.S. alliances, the acceptability of certain actions by Russia or North Korea, and the importance of democracy and human rights as universal values—have frequently been in tension with or contradicted by statements and actions of senior Administration officials (particularly those who served during the first two years or so of the Administration), with the President's views being more consistent with the change in the U.S. role outlined by the first set of observers above, and statements and actions of senior Administration officials frequently being more consistent with a continuation of the U.S. role of the past 70 years outlined by the second set of observers above.

Some Observers Argue That Change Began Earlier

Some observers argue that if the U.S. role is changing, that change started not under the Trump Administration, but under the Obama Administration, particularly regarding the question of whether the United States has reduced or withdrawn from global leadership. In support of this view, these observers cite what they views as the Obama Administration's

  • focus on reducing the U.S. military presence and ending U.S. combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in favor of focusing more on domestic U.S. rebuilding initiatives,
  • decision to announce but not enforce a "red line" regarding the behavior of the Syrian government, and
  • restrained response to Russian actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and more generally, its reluctance, for a time at least, to fully acknowledge and adapt to less cooperative and more confrontational relationships with Russia and China.

Still others view the start of a change in the U.S. role as occurring even sooner, under the George W. Bush Administration—when that Administration did not respond more strongly to Russia's 2008 invasion and occupation of part of Georgia—or under the Clinton Administration.

For these observers, a change in the U.S. role in the world under the Trump Administration may represent not so much a shift in the U.S. role as a continuation or deepening of a change that began in a prior U.S. Administration.

Potential Combined Perspectives

The perspectives outlined in the preceding sections are not necessarily mutually exclusive—assessments combining aspects of more than one of these perspectives are possible.

Implications of a Changed U.S. Role

Among observers who assess that there has been a change in the U.S. role in the world in recent years, there are multiple views regarding the potential implications of that change.

Some Observers View Implications as Undesirable

Some observers who assess that the United States under the Trump Administration is substantially changing the U.S. role in the world—particularly critics of the Trump Administration, and also some who were critical of the Obama Administration—view the implications of that change as undesirable. They view the change as an unnecessary retreat from U.S. global leadership and a gratuitous discarding of long-held U.S. values, and judge it to be an unforced error of immense proportions—a needless and self-defeating squandering of something of great value to the United States that the United States had worked to build and maintain for 70 years. More specifically, they argue that the change in the U.S. role in recent years that they see is doing some or all of the following:

  • reducing U.S. power and foreign-policy capacity, particularly by weakening or hollowing out the State Department and reducing or devaluing elements of U.S. soft power;
  • weakening the U.S. ability to leverage its power and foreign-policy capacity in international affairs—and isolating the United States on certain international issues, effectively turning the concept of America First into "America Alone"—by
  • damaging long-standing and valuable U.S. alliance relationships,
  • reducing U.S. participation in multilateral political and trade negotiations and agreements, and
  • making the United States look more erratic and impulsive as an international actor, and less reliable as an ally and negotiating partner;
  • weakening the U.S.-led international order and encouraging a reemergence of aspects of a might-makes-right international order;
  • slowing the spread of democracy and human rights, encouraging a moral equivalency between the United States and authoritarian and illiberal countries, and tacitly facilitating a reemergence of authoritarian and illiberal forms of government;
  • disregarding the costly lessons of the first half of the 20th century, and how the U.S. role in the world of the last 70 years has been motivated at bottom by a desire to prevent a repetition of the horrific events of that period; and
  • creating vacuums in global leadership in establishing and maintaining global rules and norms, on the disposition of specific disputes and other issues, and in regional power balances that China and Russia as well as France, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and other countries are moving to fill, often at the expense of U.S. interests and values.

Other Observers View Implications as Helpful

Other observers who assess that there has been a change in the U.S. role in the world in recent years—particularly supporters of the Trump Administration, but also some observers who were arguing even prior to the Trump Administration in favor of a more restrained U.S. role in the world—view the change in the U.S. role, or at least certain aspects of it, as helpful for responding to changed U.S. and global circumstances and for defending U.S. values and interests. More specifically, they argue that the change in the U.S. role in recent years that they see is doing some or all of the following:

  • adjusting the U.S. role to one that is more realistic regarding what the United States can accomplish in the world today and in the future, particularly given limits on U.S. resources and the reduction in U.S. economic and military preponderance in recent decades as other countries have grown economically and developed their militaries;
  • enhancing deterrence of potential regional aggression by making potential U.S. actions less predictable to potential adversaries;
  • reestablishing respect for national sovereignty as a guidepost for U.S. foreign policy and for organizing international affairs;
  • encouraging U.S. allies and security partners in Eurasia to do more to defend themselves, thereby reducing U.S. costs and developing Eurasia's potential to become more self-regulating in terms of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons;
  • placing an emphasis on countering and competing with China, which poses a uniquely strong and multidimensional challenge to U.S. security and prosperity;
  • working to strengthen the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region under the FOIP construct;
  • exploring possibilities for improving relations where possible with countries such as Russia and North Korea; and
  • making trade agreements more fair to the United States.

Some Related or Additional Issues

The following sections provide brief discussions of some related or additional issues for Congress regarding the U.S. role in the world.

Potential Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

A rapidly emerging but potentially very significant issue is the question of whether and how the global COVID-19 pandemic might lead to profoundly transformative and long-lasting changes in both the structure of international politics and the U.S. role in the world in areas such as U.S. global leadership, China's potential for acting as a global leader, U.S. strategic competition with China, U.S. relations with allies, and U.S. definitions of U.S. national security. Another CRS report provides an overview of the potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the international security environment and the U.S. role in the world, as well as a list of CRS reports addressing various aspects of this issue and examples of other writings addressing this issue from various perspectives,5 See also some of the more recent writings cited in Appendix C of this CRS report.

Costs and Benefits of Allies

Within the overall debate over the U.S. role in the world, one specific question relates to the costs and benefits of allies. As noted earlier, some observers believe that under the Trump Administration, the United States is becoming more skeptical of the value of allies, particularly those in Europe, and more transactional in managing U.S. alliance relationships.

Skeptics of allies and alliances generally argue that their value to the United States is overrated; that allies are capable of defending themselves without U.S. help; that U.S. allies frequently act as free riders in their alliance relationships with the United States by shifting security costs to the United States; that in the absence of U.S. help, these allies would do more on their own to balance against potential regional hegemons; and that alliances create a risk of drawing the United States into conflicts involving allies over issues that are not vital to the United States.

Supporters of the U.S. approach to allies and alliances of the past 70 years, while acknowledging the free-rider issue as something that needs to be managed, generally argue that alliances are needed and valuable for preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia and for otherwise deterring potential regional aggression; that alliances form a significant advantage for the United States in its dealings with other major powers, such as Russia and China (both of which largely lack similar alliance networks); that although allies might be capable of defending themselves without U.S. help, they might also choose, in the absence of U.S. help, to bandwagon with would-be regional hegemons (rather than contribute to efforts to balance against them); that in addition to mutual defense benefits, alliances offer other benefits, particularly in peacetime, including sharing of intelligence, information, and technology and the cultivation of soft-power forms of cooperation; and that a transactional approach to alliances, which encourages the merits of each bilateral alliance relationship to be measured in isolation, overlooks the collective benefits of maintaining alliances with multiple countries in a region.

U.S. Public Opinion

U.S. public opinion can be an important factor in debates over the future U.S. role in the world. Among other things, public opinion can

  • shape the political context (and provide the impulse) for negotiating the terms of, and for considering whether to become party to, international agreements;
  • influence debates on whether and how to employ U.S. military force; and
  • influence policymaker decisions on funding levels for defense, international affairs activities, and foreign assistance.

Foreign policy specialists, strategists, and policymakers sometimes invoke U.S. public opinion poll results in debates on the U.S. role in the world. One issue relating to U.S. public opinion that observers are discussing is the extent to which the U.S. public may now believe that U.S. leaders have broken a tacit social contract under which the U.S. public has supported the costs of U.S. global leadership in return for the promise of receiving certain benefits, particularly steady increases in real incomes and the standard of living.

Operation of U.S. Democracy

Another potential issue for Congress is how the operation of democracy in the United States might affect the U.S. role in the world, particularly in terms of defending and promoting democracy and criticizing and resisting authoritarian and illiberal forms of government.

During the Cold War, the effective operation of U.S. democracy at the federal level and lower levels was viewed as helpful for arguing on the world stage that Western-style democracy was superior, for encouraging other countries to adopt that model, and for inspiring people in the Soviet Union and other authoritarian countries to resist authoritarianism and seek change in the direction of more democratic forms of government. The ability of the United State to demonstrate the effectiveness of democracy as a form of government was something that in today's parlance would be termed an element of U.S. soft power.

The end of the Cold War led to a diminution in the ideological debate about the relative merits of democracy versus authoritarianism as forms of government. As a possible consequence, there may have been less of a perceived need during this period for focusing on the question of whether the operation of U.S. democracy was being viewed positively or otherwise by observers in other countries.

The shift in the international environment over the past few years from the post-Cold War era to a new situation featuring renewed great power competition6 has led to a renewed ideological debate about the relative merits of Western-style democracy versus 21st-century forms of authoritarian and illiberal government. Articles in China's state-controlled media, for example, sometimes criticize the operation of U.S. democracy and argue that China's form of governance is more advantageous. The potential issue for Congress is whether, in a period of renewed ideological competition, there is now once again a need for focusing more on the question of whether the operation of U.S. democracy is being viewed positively or otherwise by observers in other countries.

Potential Implications for Congress as an Institution

Another issue for Congress is what implications a changed U.S. role in the world might have for Congress as an institution, particularly regarding the preservation and use of congressional powers and prerogatives relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy, and more generally the role of Congress relative to that of the executive branch in U.S. foreign policymaking. Specific matters here include, among other things, the question of war powers, the delegation of authority for imposing tariffs, and whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for congressional organization, capacity, and operations.

Reversibility of a Change in U.S. Role

Another potential issue for Congress is whether a change in the U.S. role in the world would at some point in the future be reversible, should U.S. policymakers in the future desire to return to a U.S. role in the world more like that of the past 70 years. Potential questions for Congress include the following:

  • What elements of change in the U.S. role might be more reversible, less reversible, or irreversible? What elements might be less reversible due to technological developments, changes in international power dynamics, or changes in U.S. public opinion?
  • How much time and effort would be required to implement a return to a U.S. role like that of the past 70 years?
  • How might the issue of reversibility be affected by the amount of time that a change in the U.S. role remains in place before an attempt might be made to reverse it?
  • How might decisions that Congress and the executive branch make in the near term affect the question of potential downstream reversibility? What actions, if any, should be taken now with an eye toward preserving an option for reversing nearer-term changes in the U.S. role?
  • What are the views of other countries regarding the potential reversibility of a change in the U.S. role, and how might those views affect the foreign policies of those countries?

Additional Writings

As potential sources of additional reading, Appendix C presents a list of recent writings reflecting various perspectives on whether the United States under the Trump Administration is changing the U.S. role in the world and what the implications of such a change might be.

Appendix A. Glossary of Selected Terms

Some key terms used in this report include the following:

Role in the world

The term role in the world generally refers in foreign policy discussions to the overall character, purpose, or direction of a country's participation in international affairs or the country's overall relationship to the rest of the world. A country's role in the world can be taken as a visible expression of its grand strategy (see next item). In this report, the term U.S. role in the world is often shortened for convenience to U.S. role.

Grand strategy

The term grand strategy generally refers in foreign policy discussions to a country's overall approach for securing its interests and making its way in the world, using all the national instruments at its disposal, including diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools (sometimes abbreviated in U.S. government parlance as DIME). A country's leaders might deem elements of a country's grand strategy to be secret, so that assessments, assumptions, or risks included in the strategy are not revealed to potential adversaries. Consequently, a country's leaders might say relatively little in public about the country's grand strategy. As mentioned above, however, a country's role in the world can be taken as a visible expression of its grand strategy. For the United States, grand strategy can be viewed as strategy at a global or interregional level, as opposed to U.S. strategies for individual regions, countries, or issues.

International order/world order

The term international order or world order generally refers in foreign policy discussions to the collection of organizations, institutions, treaties, rules, norms, and practices that are intended to organize, structure, and regulate international relations during a given historical period. International orders tend to be established by major world powers, particularly in the years following wars between major powers, though they can also emerge at other times. Though often referred to as if they are fully developed or firmly established situations, international orders are usually incomplete, partly aspirational, sometimes violated by their supporters, rejected (or at least not supported) by certain states and nonstate actors, and subject to various stresses and challenges.

Unipolar/bipolar/tripolar/multipolar

In foreign policy discussions, terms like unipolar, bipolar, tripolar, and multipolar are sometimes used to refer to the number of top-tier world powers whose actions tend to characterize or give structure to a given historical period's international security situation. The Cold War that lasted from the late 1940s to the late 1980s or early 1990s is usually described as a bipolar situation featuring a competition between two superpowers (the United States and the Soviet Union) and their allies. The post-Cold War era, which followed the Cold War, is sometimes described as the unipolar moment, with the United States being the unipolar power, meaning the world's sole superpower.

As discussed in another CRS report,7 observers have concluded that in recent years, there has been a shift from the post-Cold War era to a new international security situation characterized by renewed great power competition between the United States, China, and Russia, leading observers to refer to the new situation as a tripolar or multipolar world. Observers who might list additional countries (or groups of countries, such as the European Union) as additional top-tier world powers, along with the United States, China, and Russia, might also use the term multipolar.

Eurasia

The term Eurasia is used in this report to refer to the entire land mass that encompasses both Europe and Asia, including its fringing islands, extending from Portugal on its western end to Japan on its eastern end, and from Russia's Arctic coast on its northern edge to India on its southern edge, and encompassing all the lands and countries in between, including those of Central Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Eurasia's fringing islands include, among others, the United Kingdom and Ireland in Europe, Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the archipelagic countries of Southeast Asia, and Japan. There are also other definitions of Eurasia, some of which are more specialized and refer to subsets of the broad area described above.

Regional hegemon

The term regional hegemon generally refers to a country so powerful relative to the other countries in its region that it can dominate the affairs of that region and compel other countries in that region to support (or at least not oppose) the hegemon's key policy goals. The United States is generally considered to have established itself in the 19th century as the hegemon of the Western Hemisphere.

Spheres-of-influence world

The term spheres-of-influence world generally refers to a world that, in terms of its structure of international relations, is divided into multiple regions (i.e., spheres), each with its own hegemon. A spheres-of-influence world, like a multipolar world, is characterized by having multiple top-tier powers. In a spheres-of-influence world, however, at least some of those top-tier powers have achieved a status of regional hegemon, while in a multipolar world, few or none of those major world powers (other than the United States, the regional hegemon of the Western Hemisphere) have achieved a status of regional hegemon. As a result, in a spheres-of-influence world, international relations are more highly segmented on a regional basis than they are in a multipolar world.

Geopolitics

The term geopolitics is often used as a synonym for international politics or for strategy relating to international politics. More specifically, it refers to the influence of basic geographic features on international relations, and to the analysis of international relations from a perspective that places a strong emphasis on the influence of such geographic features. Basic geographic features involved in geopolitical analysis include things such as the relative sizes and locations of countries or land masses; the locations of key resources such as oil or water; geographic barriers such as oceans, deserts, and mountain ranges; and key transportation links such as roads, railways, and waterways.

Hard power and soft power

In foreign policy discussions, the term hard power generally refers to coercive power, particularly military and economic power, while the term soft power generally refers to the ability to persuade or attract support, particularly through diplomacy, development assistance, support for international organizations, education and cultural exchanges, and the international popularity of cultural elements such as music, movies, television shows, and literature.

Appendix B. Past U.S. Role vs. More Restrained Role

This appendix provides additional discussion on the debate over whether the United States should attempt to continue playing the active internationalist role that it has played for the past 70 years, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs.

Among U.S. strategists and foreign policy specialists, advocates of a more restrained U.S. role include (to cite a few examples) Andrew Bacevich, Doug Bandow, Ted Galen Carpenter, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, Christopher Preble, William Ruger, and Stephen Walt. These and other authors have offered multiple variations on the idea of a more restrained U.S. role. Terms such as offshore balancing, offshore control, realism, strategy of restraint, or retrenchment have been used to describe some of these variations.8 These variations on the idea of a more restrained U.S. role would not necessarily match in their details a changed U.S. role that might be pursued by the Trump Administration.9

Arguments in Favor of a More Restrained U.S. Role

Observers advocating a more restrained U.S. role in the world make various arguments regarding the United States and other countries. Arguments that they make relating to the United States include the following:

  • Costs and benefits. In terms of human casualties, financial and economic impacts, diplomatic impacts, and impacts on domestic U.S. values, politics, and society, the costs to the United States of defending and promoting the liberal international order have been underestimated and the benefits have been overestimated. U.S. interventions in the security affairs of Eurasia have frequently been more costly and/or less successful than anticipated, making a strategy of intervening less cost-effective in practice than in theory. U.S. interventions can also draw the United States into conflicts involving other countries over issues that are not vital or important U.S. interests.
  • Capacity. Given projections regarding future U.S. budget deficits and debt, the United States in coming years will no longer be able to afford to play as expansive a role in the world as it has played for the past 70 years. Overextending U.S. participation in international affairs could lead to excessive amounts of federal debt and inadequately addressed domestic problems, leaving the United States poorly positioned for sustaining any future desired level of international engagement.
  • Past 70 years as a historical aberration. The U.S. role of the past 70 years is an aberration when viewed against the U.S. historical record dating back to 1776, which is a history characterized more by periods of restraint than by periods of high levels of international engagement. Returning to a more restrained U.S. role would thus return U.S. policy to what is, historically, a more traditional policy for the United States.
  • Moral standing. The United States has not always lived up to its own ideals, and consequently lacks sufficient moral standing to pursue a role that involves imposing its values and will on other countries. Attempting to do that through an interventionist policy can also lead to an erosion of those values at home.
  • Public opinion. It is not clear that U.S. public opinion supports the idea of attempting to maintain a U.S. role in the world as expansive as that of the past 70 years, particularly if it means making trade-offs against devoting resources to domestic U.S. priorities. In public opinion polls, Americans often express support for a more restrained U.S. role, particularly on issues such as whether the United States should act as the world's police force, funding levels for U.S. foreign assistance programs, U.S. participation in (and financial support for) international organizations, and U.S. defense expenditures for defending allies.

Arguments that these observers make relating to other countries include the following:

  • Growing wealth and power. Given the rapid growth in wealth and power in recent years of China and other countries, the United States is no longer as dominant globally as it once was, and is becoming less dominant over time, which will make it increasingly difficult or expensive and/or less appropriate for the United States to attempt to continue playing a role of global leadership.
  • Ideas about international order. Other world powers, such as China, have their own ideas about international order, and these ideas do not match all aspects of the current liberal international order. The United States should acknowledge the changing global distribution of power and work with China and other countries to define a new international order that incorporates ideas from these other countries.
  • Eurasia as self-regulating. Given the growth in the economies of U.S. allies and partners in Europe and Asia since World War II, these allies and partners are now more capable of looking after their own security needs, and Eurasia can now be more self-regulating in terms of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia. Consequently, the level of U.S. intervention in the affairs of Eurasia can be reduced without incurring undue risk that regional hegemons will emerge there. The current substantial level of U.S. intervention in the affairs of Eurasia discourages countries in Eurasia from acting more fully on their own to prevent the emergence of regional hegemons.
  • Hegemons and spheres of influence. Even if one or more regional hegemons were to emerge in Eurasia, this would not pose an unacceptable situation for the United States—vital U.S. interests could still be defended. Similarly, the emergence of a spheres-of-influence world need not be unacceptable for the United States, because such a world would again not necessarily be incompatible with vital U.S. interests.

Arguments in Favor of Continuing U.S. Role of the Past 70 Years

Observers who support a continuation of the U.S. role in the world of the past 70 years generally reject the above arguments and argue the opposite. Arguments that these observers make relating to the United States include the following:

  • Costs and benefits. Although the costs to the United States of its role in the world over the past 70 years have been substantial, the benefits have been greater. The benefits are so long-standing that they can easily be taken for granted or underestimated. U.S. interventions in the security affairs of Eurasia, though not without significant costs and errors, have been successful in preventing wars between major powers and defending and promoting vital U.S. interests and values. A more restrained U.S. role in the world might be less expensive for the United States in the short run, but would create a risk of damaging U.S. security, liberty, and prosperity over the longer run by risking the emergence of regional hegemons or a spheres-of-influence world.
  • Capacity. Projections regarding future U.S. budget deficits and debt need to be taken into account, but even in a context of limits on U.S. resources, the United States is a wealthy country that can choose to play an expansive role in international affairs, and the costs to the United States of playing a more restrained role in world affairs may in the long run be much greater than the costs of playing a more expansive role. Projections regarding future U.S. budget deficits and debt are driven primarily by decisions on revenues and domestic mandatory expenditures rather than by decisions on defense and foreign-policy-related expenditures. Consequently, these projections are an argument for getting the country's fiscal house in order primarily in terms of revenues and domestic mandatory expenditures, rather than an argument for a more restrained U.S. role in the world.
  • Past 70 years as a historical aberration. Although a restrained U.S. foreign policy may have been appropriate for the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, the world of the 18th and 19th centuries was quite different. For example, given changes in communication, transportation, and military technologies since the 18th and 19th centuries, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are much less effective as geographic buffers between the United States and Eurasia today than they were in the 18th and 19th centuries. Experiences in more recent decades (including World Wars I and II and the Cold War) show that a more restrained U.S. foreign policy would now be riskier or more costly over the long run than an engaged U.S. foreign policy.
  • Moral standing. The United States, though not perfect, retains ample moral authority—and responsibility—to act as a world leader, particularly in comparison to authoritarian countries such as China or Russia.
  • Public opinion. Other public opinion poll results show that Americans support a U.S. global leadership role.

Arguments that these observers make relating to other countries include the following:

  • Growing wealth and power. Although the wealth and power of countries such as China have grown considerably in recent years, future rates of growth for those countries are open to question. China faces the prospect of declining rates of economic growth and the aging and eventual shrinkage of its population, while Russia has a relatively small economy and is experiencing demographic decline. The United States has one of the most favorable demographic situations of any major power, and retains numerous advantages in terms of economic and financial strength, military power, technology, and capacity for innovation. Although the United States is no longer as dominant globally as it once was, it remains the world's most powerful country, particularly when all dimensions of power are taken into consideration.
  • Ideas about international order. The liberal international order reflects U.S. interests and values; a renegotiated international order incorporating ideas from authoritarian countries such as China would produce a world less conducive to defending and promoting U.S. interests and values. Americans have long lived in a world reflecting U.S. interests and values and would not welcome a world incorporating Chinese values on issues such as the rule of law; the scope of civil society; political and human rights; freedom of speech, the press, and information; and privacy and surveillance.
  • Eurasia as self-regulating. Eurasia historically has not been self-regulating in terms of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons, and the idea that it will become self-regulating in the future is a risky and untested proposition.
  • Hegemons and spheres of influence. A regional hegemon in Eurasia would have enough economic and other power to be able to threaten vital U.S. interests. In addition to threatening U.S. access to the economies of Eurasia, a spheres-of-influence world would be prone to war because regional hegemons historically are never satisfied with the extent of their hegemonic domains and eventually seek to expand them, coming into conflict with other hegemons. Leaders of regional hegemons are also prone to misjudgment and miscalculation regarding where their spheres collide.

Appendix C. Additional Writings

As potential sources of additional reading, this appendix presents a list of writings over the past six months reflecting various perspectives on whether the United States under the Trump Administration is changing the U.S. role in the world and what the implications of such a change might be, listed in chronological order, with the most recent on top. Writings from more than six months ago can be found in earlier versions of this report.

Editorial Board, "Donald Trump's Erratic China Policy Undermines Western Unity," Financial Times, May 7, 2020.

Jose W. Fernandez, "In the Coronavirus Era, Trump's 'America First' Means 'Latin America Alone,'" Foreign Policy, May 7, 2020.

Joel Gehrke, "US and Western allies offer disjointed response to China coronavirus calamity," Washington Examiner, May 06, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Making China Pay Would Cost Americans Dearly," Foreign Policy, May 5, 2020.

Hal Brands, "Can a Broke America Fight a Cold War With China? The Coronavirus Has United Americans Against Beijing's Aggressions, But It Will Also Devastate the Pentagon Budget," Bloomberg, May 5, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "How to Keep the Free World From Becoming a Suburb of Beijing," Heritage Foundation, May 5, 2020.

Ben Doherty, "The Indispensable Nation? Covid-19 Tests the US-Australian Alliance," Guardian, May 5, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "The United States Forgot Its Strategy for Winning Cold Wars," Foreign Policy, May 5, 2020.

Ali Wyne, "Can China Use the Pandemic to Displace the US?" Defense One, May 5, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Two Decades of War in Afghanistan Is Enough," Cato Institute, May 4, 2020.

William Booth, Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Carol Morello, "The World Came Together for a Virtual Vaccine Summit. The U.S. Was Conspicuously Absent," Washington Post, May 4, 2020.

Matthew Petti, "Trump Administration Defends No-Show At Global Coronavirus Conference," National Interest, May 4, 2020.

Deb Riechmann and Zeke Miller, "Trump's anti-China rhetoric aimed at boosting US leverage," Associated Press, May 4, 2020.

Anne Applebaum, "The Rest of the World Is Laughing at Trump, The President Created a Leadership Vacuum. China Intends to Fill It," Atlantic, May 3, 2020.

Edward Fishman, "The World Order Is Dead. Here's How to Build a New One for a Post-Coronavirus Era," Politico, May 3, 2020.

Charlotte Klein, "Trump's 'America First' Mentality May Hamper Global Race For Coronavirus Vaccine," Vanity Fair, May 3, 2020.

Nahal Toosi and Natasha Bertrand, "Fears Rise that Trump Will Incite a Global Vaccine Brawl, The President's 'America First' Philosophy Courts Disaster for Entire Regions of the World, Diplomats Warn," Politico, May 3, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Trump's New Marshall Plan," National Interest, May 2, 2020.

Daniel F. Runde, "Competing and Winning in the Multilateral System: U.S. Leadership in the United Nations," Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 1, 2020.

Daniel F. Runde and Conor M. Savoy, "Covid-19 Has Consequences for U.S. Foreign Aid and Global Leadership," Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 1, 2020.

Kori Schake, "America's Built-in Protection Against Bad Leadership, For All Its Failures, the U.S. Has Structural Advantages Over Rival Powers—and Will Come Out of the Pandemic Even Stronger," Atlantic, May 1, 2020.

Daniel W. Drezner, Ronald R. Krebs, and Randall Schweller, "The End of Grand Strategy, America Must Think Small," Foreign Affairs, May/June, 2020.

H. R. McMaster, "How China Sees the World, And How We Should See China," Atlantic, May 2020.

Walter Lohman and James Jay Carafano, "10 Steps America Should Take Now to Respond to the China Challenge," Heritage Foundation, April 30, 2020.

Henry R. Nau, "What Trump Gets Right About U.S. Foreign Policy," National Interest, April 30, 2020.

Carisa Nietsche and Martijn Rasser, "Washington's Anti-Huawei Tactics Need a Reboot In Europe," Foreign Policy, April 30, 2020.

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han, "Why Was the U.S. So Late to Recognize the China Threat," Real Clear Defense, April 30, 2020.

Colum Lynch, "WHO Becomes Battleground as Trump Chooses Pandemic Confrontation Over Cooperation," Foreign Policy, April 29, 2020.

Michael Morell, Avril Haines, and David S. Cohen, "Trump's Politicization of U.S. Intelligence Agencies Could End in Disaster," Foreign Policy, April 28, 2020.

J. Stephen Morrison and Anna Carroll, "WHO and President Trump on the Ledge," Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), April 28, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Time to Get the Hell out of Korea," Cato Institute, April 27, 2020.

Jeffrey Becker, "COVID-19 Offers a Golden Opportunity to Reengage with the Indo-Pacific," Defense One, April 27, 2020.

Joseph S. Nye, "How COVID-19 Is Testing American Leadership," East Asia Forum, April 26, 2020.

Jacob Stokes, "How the United States Can Cooperate While Competing With China," Lawfare, April 26, 2020.

John Hudson, Josh Dawsey, and Souad Mekhennet, "Trump Expands Battle with WHO Far Beyond Aid Suspension," Washington Post, April 25, 2020.

Daniel F. Runde, "Defending the 'Global Spoils System' of Leadership Jobs in Multilaterals Is in the U.S. Interest," Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 24, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Withdraw US Support From Saudi Arabia," Cato Institute, April 23, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Challenge China and the WHO—But Not While the Pandemic Rages," The Hill, April 23, 2020.

Katrin Bennhold, "'Sadness' and Disbelief From a World Missing American Leadership," New York Times, April 23, 2020.

David Brunnstrom and Humeyra Pamuk, "Pompeo Says U.S. May Never Restore WHO Funds after Cutoff over Pandemic," Reuters, April 23, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Coronavirus: 3 Ways for Us to Be Smart and Still Make China Regret Unleashing Pandemic," Heritage Foundation, April 23, 2020.

Julianne Smith and Garima Mohan, "In a Crisis, a Fumbling America Confirms Europe's Worst Fears," War on the Rocks, April 23, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "There's No Such Thing as Good Liberal Hegemony, It's Not Just That the United States Has Made Mistakes—the Very Idea of U.S. Global Leadership Is Broken from the Ground Up," Foreign Policy, April 21, 2020.

Riley Walters and Dean Cheng, "How to Hold China Accountable for COVID-19," Heritage Foundation, April 21, 2020.

Hal Brands, "Don't Let Great Powers Carve Up the World, Spheres of Influence Are Unnecessary and Dangerous," Foreign Affairs, April 20, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "The United States Can't Ditch China Yet, Fraying Ties Need Not Spell the End of the U.S.-China Relationship," Foreign Policy, April 20, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "The Great U.S.-China Divorce Has Arrived," National Interest, April 20, 2020.

Gordon Lubold and Dion Nissenbaum, "With Trump Facing Virus Crisis, U.S. Warns Rivals Not to Seek Advantage," Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2020.

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han, "Kissinger's Folly: The Threat to World Order is China," The Hill, April 19, 2020.

James Holmes, "How Donald Trump Should Make China Pay for Coronavirus," National Interest, April 18, 2020.

Sharon Tennison, David Speedie, and Krishen Mehta, "Is NATO Still Necessary?" National Interest, April 18, 2020.

Daniel P. Vajdich, "The Geopolitical Cost of Battling the Coronavirus Separately (China Will Win)," National Interest, April 18, 2020.

Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig, "Will Trump's Decision to Cut WHO Funding Accomplish Anything?" Foreign Policy, April 17, 2020.

Ilan Berman, "Trump Puts U.S. Public Diplomacy on Notice," National Interest, April 17, 2020.

Philippe Rater with Agence France-Presse bureaus, "As US Pulls Back, China Builds Influence At UN," Barron's, April 17, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "We Could Sue Beijing, but Careful America What You Wish For," American Conservative, April 16, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "The Coronavirus Should Not Become an Excuse to Decouple," China US Focus, April 16, 2020.

Olivia Enos, "Why the Pandemic Is the Right Time to Issue an Atrocity Determination for Rohingya," Heritage Foundation, April 16, 2020.

Richard Fontaine, "We Need an Atlantic Charter for the Post-coronavirus Era," Atlantic, April 16, 2020.

Brett D. Schaefer, "How Best to Leverage Trump's Halt to WHO Funding Over COVID-19 Missteps," Heritage Foundation, April 16, 2020.

Salvatore Babones, "Donald Trump Is Right To Dump the WHO," National Interest, April 15, 2020.

Kevin Baron, "Don't Be Fooled. Trump's Cuts to WHO Aren't About the Coronavirus," Defense One, April 15, 2020.

Robert Burns, "Military Sees No Quick Exit from 'New World' of Coronavirus," Associated Press, April 15, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Trump's Meddling In The Balkans Has Led To A Super Kosovo Fail," American Conservative, April 15, 2020.

Michael Green and Evan S. Medeiros, "The Pandemic Won't Make China the World's Leader," Foreign Affairs, April 15, 2020.

Todd Harrison, "DoD Must Identify Its 'Crown Jewels' in Preparation for Fiscal Uncertainty," Defense News, April 15, 2020.

Jamey Keaten and Maria Cheng, "WHO, Allies Lament Trump Cut to US Funding as Virus Rages," Associated Press, April 15, 2020.

Bonnie Kristian, "The Coronavirus Shows How US 'Diplomacy' Is Anything But: Absolutist, America-First Approaches Isolate Us and Make Us Less Safe," Defense One, April 15, 2020.

Eli Lake, "Trump Is Punishing the WHO for China's Deceptions," Bloomberg, April 15, 2020.

Kristine Lee, "It's Not Just the WHO: How China Is Moving on the Whole U.N.," Politico, April 15, 2020.

James Palmer, "Why Chinese Embassies Have Embraced Aggressive Diplomacy," Foreign Policy, April 15, 2020.

Ionut Popescu, "It's Time to Get Real About Great-Power Politics," National Interest, April 15, 2020.

Emily Rauhala, "Trump's Critique of WHO May Be a Diversion, But It Resonates Beyond the White House," Washington Post, April 15, 2020.

David E. Sanger, "Analysis: Will Pandemic Make Trump Rethink National Security?" New York Times, April 15, 2020.

Brett D. Schaefer, "Now Is Not (Yet) the Time to Cut Funding to the World Health Organization," Heritage Foundation, April 15, 2020.

Nahal Toosi, "Trump Hobbles Foreign Aid as Coronavirus Rips Around the World," Politico, April 15, 2020.

Salvatore Babones, "In the Post-Coronavirus World, Chinese Power is Overrated: A Global Resurgence in National Self-Reliance Might Actually Be a Good Thing for America's Place in the World." Foreign Policy, April 14, 2020.

Daniel DePetris, "NATO's New Panel Needs to Think Beyond Cold War Assumptions," Defense News, April 14, 2020.

Stéphanie Fillion, "In Canada, Patience Wearing Thin Over Trump's Antics, A Threat to Militarize the Border and Attempts to Hold Up Lifesaving Medical Supplies Have Roiled the Calmest of Countries." Foreign Policy, April 14, 2020.

Steve Holland, "Trump to Convene G7 Leaders in Video Call to Discuss Pandemic," Reuters, April 14, 2020.

David D. Kirkpatrick, "The White House Blessed a War in Libya, but Russia Won It," New York Times, April 14 (updated April 15), 2020.

Martijn Rasser, "Technology alliances will help shape our post-pandemic future," C4ISRnet, April, 14, 2020.

John Lee Cheong Seong, "Beijing Tried to Use the Coronavirus Crisis to Enhance Its Global Standing. It's Not Working," South China Morning Post, April 14, 2020.

Edward Wong and Paul Mozur, "China's 'Donation Diplomacy' Raises Tensions With U.S.," New York Times, April 14, 2020.

Mohammed Ayoob, "How the Coronavirus Could Undercut China's Global Standing," National Interest, April 13, 2020.

Tony Bertuca, "Global Pandemic Threatens to Hobble National Defense Strategy," Inside Defense, April 13, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "After Coronavirus—We Still Need Europe and They Need Us. Here's What Has to Happen," Heritage Foundation, April 13, 2020.

Derek Chollet, Michał Baranowski, and Steven Keil, "Where is NATO? And Where is Trump? The Virus Is Destroying Economies and Paralyzing Societies in Ways Russian Military Planners Could Only Dream." Defense One, April 13, 2020.

Jack Detsch, "U.S. Official: Beware of Chinese Leaders Bearing Coronavirus Gifts," Foreign Policy, April 13, 2020.

Philip H. Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro, "The Atlantic Alliance Had Preexisting Conditions. The Pandemic Will Worsen Them," War on the Rocks, April 13, 2020.

Robbie Gramer, "Outgoing USAID Chief Says Pandemic Underscores Importance of Foreign Aid," Foreign Policy, April 13, 2020.

Fred Kaplan, "The End of American Leadership, The Coronavirus Pandemic May Mark the Final Shift of Global Power Away from the United States." Slate, April 13, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "The United States Is Getting Infected With Dictatorship," Foreign Policy, April 13, 2020.

Chi Wang, "How China is Losing the World's Trust Following Its Cover-up of the Coronavirus Crisis," South China Morning Post, April 13, 2020.

Michael Birnbaum and Terrence McCoy, "As Leaders Seize Powers to Fight coronavirus, Fear Grows for Democracy," Washington Post, April 12, 2020.

Michael Shoebridge, "Why America Will Emerge Stronger From the Coronavirus Crisis," National Interest, April 12, 2020.

Renée DiResta, "For China, the 'USA Virus' Is a Geopolitical Ploy," Atlantic, April 11, 2020.

Lee Drake, "What the Trump Administration Needs to Learn from the Plague that Destroyed Athens," National Interest, April 11, 2020.

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han, "China Is Using The Coronavirus Crisis To Gain Political Capital Against America," National Interest, April 11, 2020.

Trevor Wilson, "Strategic Challenges of China's Rise," East Asia Forum, April 11, 2020.

Janusz Bugajski, "Mind the Gap, And Don't Succumb to Transatlantic Fever," Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), April 10, 2020.

Karen DeYoung, "Foreign Policy Challenges Persist for a Distracted U.S. in the Midst of Pandemic," Washington Post, April 10, 2020.

Catie Edmondson, "China Hawks in Congress See an Opportunity in Coronavirus," New York Times, April 10 (updated April 14), 2020.

Bill Ong Hing, "Trump Has Achieved His Goal of Abolishing Asylum: The Pandemic Has Added One More Insurmountable Hurdle for Asylum Seekers." Slate, April 10, 2020.

Colin H. Kahl and Ariana Berengaut, "Aftershocks: The Coronavirus Pandemic and the New World Disorder," War on the Rocks, April 10, 2020.

Sophia Becker, Christian Mölling, and Torben Schütz, "The Coronavirus Threatens NATO. Let's Move to Protect the Alliance." Defense News, April 9, 2020.

Ryan Girdusky, "Bad Ideology, Not Bad Leadership, Caused Our China Problem," Washington Examiner, April 9, 2020.

David Ignatius, "The Coronavirus Is Already Reshaping Defense Strategies," Washington Post, April 9, 2020.

Benjamin Jensen, "When Systems Fail: What Pandemics and Cyberspace Tell Us About the Future of National security," War on the Rocks, April 9, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "The Pandemic Means the Trump Administration Must Stop Mistreating USAID," Washington Post, April 9, 2020

Alireza Ahmadi, "The Trump Era Has Created a New Challenge for China," National Interest, April 8, 2020.

Lanhee J. Chen, "Lost in Beijing: The Story of the WHO, China Broke the World Health Organization. The U.S. Has to Fix It or Leave and Start Its Own Group." Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2020.

Michèle A. Flournoy and Lisa O. Monaco, "Now's Not the Time for Isolationism, Countries Need to Work Together to Fight Coronavirus, and the U.S. Should Step Up to Lead Those Efforts, Not Back Off From Them." Politico, April 8, 2020.

Robbie Gramer and Jack Detsch, "Pandemic Stymies Congressional Check on Trump's Foreign Policy," Foreign Policy, April 8, 2020.

Colum Lynch, "Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus? In the Absence of U.S. Leadership, the U.N. Is Struggling to Carve Out a Role in the Face of What May Be the Greatest Threat Since Its Founding." Foreign Policy, April 8, 2020.

Christopher Preble, "How will COVID-19 Change US National Security Strategy?" Responsible Statecraft, April 8, 2020.

Todd Prince, "Pompeo Touts U.S. Foreign Help Against Pandemic As Trump Threatens WHO Funding," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 8, 2020.

Keith B. Alexander and Jamil N. Jaffer, "While the World Battles the Coronavirus, Our Adversaries Are Planning Their Next Attack," The Hill, April 7 2020.

Joe Buccino, "The US Must Lead the World Out of This, If the Coronavirus Pandemic Only Causes Us to Look Inward, China Wins." Defense One, April 7, 2020.

Helle C. Dale, "Even in Pandemic, America Still the Global Leader," Heritage Foundation, April 7, 2020.

Daniel L. Davis, "Coronavirus Means No More Money for Forever Wars," National Interest, April 7, 2020.

Glenn S. Gerstell and Michael Morell, "Four Ways U.S. Intelligence Efforts Should Change in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic," Washington Post, April 7, 2020.

Oona A. Hathaway, "After COVID-19, We Need to Redefine 'National Security,' The Post-9/11 Era Is Over." Slate, April 7, 2020.

James Kraska Sumantra Maitra, "The Coronavirus Crisis Has Highlighted America's Failed Foreign Policy Tactics," National Interest, April 7, 2020.

John Pomfret, "Does the Future Still Belong to the U.S. and China?" Washington Post, April 7, 2020.

Harrison Schramm, Kevin A. Chlan, Peter Kouretsos, COVID-19, Analysis and Policy Implications, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2020 (released April 7, 2020), 31 pp.

Robert B. Zoellick, "The World Is Watching How America Handles Coronavirus, The Trump Administration Has Failed to Convey An Impression of Strong International Leadership." Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2020.

Ted Anthony, "After Virus, How Will Americans' View of the World Change?" Washington Post, April 6, 2020.

Timofey V. Bordachev, "Visions Of The Post-Coronavirus World: Russian Expert On Europe Bordachev: The Liberal World Order Will Not Survive," MEMRI, April 6, 2020.

Zachery Tyson Brown, "America's National Security Software Needs an Upgrade, The Outdated U.S. Security Apparatus Was Completely Unprepared for the Coronavirus Pandemic." Foreign Policy, April 6, 2020.

William J. Burns, "A Make-or-Break Test for American Diplomacy, The Post-Pandemic World Will Pose a Massive Test for U.S. Statecraft, the Biggest Since the End of the Cold War." Atlantic, April 6, 2020.

Kyle Harper, "The Coronavirus Is Accelerating History Past the Breaking Point, Every Era Gets the Infectious Diseases—and the Resulting Political Upheaval—It Has Coming." Foreign Policy, April 6, 2020.

Matthew Karnitschnig and Judith Mischke, "Berlin Lets Mask Slip on Feelings for Trump's America, The Crisis Has Convinced Germans That Trump Puts Other Countries at Risk." Politico, April 6 (updated April 7), 2020.

James Lamond, "Authoritarian Regimes Seek To Take Advantage of the Coronavirus Pandemic," Center for American Progress, April 6, 2020.

Mark Payumo, "Why China's Coronavirus Lies Don't Matter If It Plays the Long Information Game, Washington Can Still Beat Beijing's Information Warfare Campaign, But It Needs to Stop Thinking Short-Term." National Interest, April 6, 2020.

Ben Rhodes, "The 9/11 Era Is Over, The Coronavirus Pandemic and a Chapter of History That Should Have Expired Long Ago," Atlantic, April 6, 2020.

Jason Sherman, "Analyst: Pandemic Will Squeeze Defense Spending As Nation's Focus Shifts to Health Care," Inside Defense, April 6, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "President Should Begin Halting Endless Wars With Iraq Withdrawal," American Spectator, April 5, 2020.

Victor Davis Hanson, "Don't Be Fooled: Trump Is Leading the World Against Coronavirus," National Interest, April 5, 2020.

Nadia Schadlow, "Consider the Possibility That Trump Is Right About China, Critics Are Letting Their Disdain for the President Blind Them to Geopolitical Realities." Atlantic, April 5, 2020.

Stratfor Worldview, "Will the Coronavirus Ruin Countries' Ability to Wage War?" National Interest, April 5, 2020.

Anthony Vinci and Nadia Schadlow, "Time for the US to declare independence from China," Washington Examiner, April 5, 2020.

Andy Blatchford, "Trump's Moves to Hold Medical Supplies Tip Trudeau to China," Politico, April 4 (updated April 5), 2020.

Anthony Faiola, Lindzi Wessel, and Shibani Mahtani, "Coronavirus Chills Protests from Chile to Hong Kong to Iraq, Forcing Activists to Innovate," Washington Post, April 4, 2020.

Seth J. Frantzman, "Coronavirus Is Empowering Dictators And Changing The World Order," National Interest, April 4, 2020.

Lara Jakes, "When the Face of America Falls Ill: A Virus's Toll on Diplomats," New York Times, April 4, 2020.

Matthew Lee and Edith M. Lederer, "Global Diplomacy Under the Gun in The Time of Ccoronavirus," Associated Press, April 4, 2020.

Stratfor Worldview, "How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Changing the World—and the Future," National Interest, April 4, 2020.

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han, "The Consequences of the Pandemic for China and the World," National Interest, April 4, 2020.

Thomas Wright, "Stretching the International Order to Its Breaking Point, The Greatest Error That Geopolitical Analysts Can Make May Be Believing That the Crisis Will Be Over in Three to Four Months." Atlantic, April 4, 2020.

Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig," Will Trump's Pandemic Response Help or Harm U.S. Power? Russia and China Are Stepping in While the United States and Europe Fumble." Foreign Policy, April 3, 2020.

Vanda Felbab-Brown, "What Coronavirus Means for Online Fraud, Forced Sex, Drug Smuggling and Wildlife Trafficking," Lawfare, April 3, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "America's Post-Coronavirus China Syndrome," Heritage Foundation, April 3, 2020.

Henry A. Kissinger, "The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order," Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2020.

Gregory D. Koblentz and Michael Hunzeker, "National Security in the Age of Pandemics," Defense One, April 3, 2020.

Matthew Kroenig, "Why the U.S. Will Outcompete China, The Faith in Autocratic Ascendance and Democratic Decline Is Contrary to Historical Fact." Atlantic, April 3, 2020.

Joshua Kurlantzick, "Dictators Are Using the Coronavirus to Strengthen Their Grip on Power," Washington Post, April 3, 2020.

Edward Lucas, "China Was Once the Cradle of the Coronavirus Pandemic But It Has Bounced Back with Astonishing Speed, Writes Edward Lucas As He Reveals the Country May Have Won the War for Global Supremacy As Well," Daily Mail (UK), April 3, 2020.

Bruno Maçães, "China Wants to Use the Coronavirus to Take Over the World," National Review, April 3, 2020.

Minxin Pei, "China's Coming Upheaval, Competition, the Coronavirus, and the Weakness of Xi Jinping," Foreign Affairs, April 3, 2020.

Nahal Toosi, "'Lord of the Flies: PPE Edition': U.S. Cast As Culprit in Global Scrum Over Coronavirus Supplies," Politico, April 3, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "The United States Can Still Win the Coronavirus Pandemic," Foreign Policy, April 3, 2020.

Riley Walters, "Decreasing U.S.-China Trade Is Worrisome," Heritage Foundation, April 3, 2020.

Cara Anna, "Extremists See Global Chaos from Virus As An Opportunity," Associated Press, April 2, 2020.

Ryan Broderick, "After The Coronavirus Passes, Your World Will Not Go Back To Normal, Before the Pandemic Began, the Systems That Govern Our World Were Brittle. Today, They Are Broken. When We Emerge, the World Will Be Different, and So Will We." Buzzfeed News, April 2, 2020.

Rick Gladstone, "U.N. Security Council 'Missing In Action' in Coronavirus Fight," New York Times, April 2, 2020.

Susan B. Glasser, "The Coronavirus Is the World's Only Superpower, Trump's America? Not so Much." New Yorker, April 2, 2020.

Robbie Gramer and Colum Lynch, "In Global Leadership Void on Pandemic, Critics Ask: Where's Pompeo?" Foreign Policy, April 2, 2020.

Ash Jain, "Trump Just Missed a Perfect Opportunity to Reassert American Leadership, The G-20 helped beat Ebola. Why can't it do the same for the coronavirus?" Foreign Policy, April 2, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Coronavirus and Regime Change—Will This Plague Topple Nations Great and Small?" Heritage Foundation, April 1, 2020.

John Haltiwanger, "The Coronavirus Just Created a New Dictator in Europe and Has Emboldened the Toxic Behavior of Authoritarians Worldwide," Business Insider, April 1, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "The Trump-Russia Showdown Over Oil," Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2020.

Luke McGee, "Power-Hungry Leaders Are Itching to Exploit the Coronavirus Crisis," CNN, April 1, 2020.

Jacob Mchangama and Sarah McLaughlin, "Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic," Foreign Policy, April 1, 2020.

Tom O'Connor and Naveed Jamali, "As U.S. Struggles to Fight Coronavirus, China, Russia See Opportunity to Gain Global Power," Newsweek, April 1, 2020.

Matthew Petti, "Pompeo: China Will Be 'True Strategic Competitor' After Coronavirus," National Interest, April 1, 2020.

Jeff M. Smith, "How America Is Leading the "Quad Plus" Group of 7 Countries in Fighting the Coronavirus," Heritage Foundation, April 1, 2020.

Adam Tooze, "America Is Ailing—and Leading the World, The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Been a Humiliation for the United States—and Confirmation of Its Unmatched International Power." Foreign Policy, April 1, 2020.

Philip Wen and Drew Hinshaw, "China Asserts Claim to Global Leadership, Mask by Mask," Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2020.

George Packer, "The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions," Atlantic, April 2020.

Robert C. Rubel, "Canary In The Coal Mine: The US Navy's Dilemmas As An Indication Of A Culminating Point In National Grand Strategy," Journal of Political Risk, April 2020.

David Barno and Nora Bensahel, "After the Pandemic: America and National Security in a Changed World," War on the Rocks, March 31, 2020.

Max Boot, "Covid-19 is Killing Off Our Traditional Notions of National Defense," Washington Post, March 31, 2020.

Nic Cheeseman, "The Coronavirus Could Topple Governments Around the World," Foreign Policy, March 31, 2020.

Ian Goldin and Robert Muggah, "End of International Cooperation? How Coronavirus Has Changed the World Permanently," National Interest, March 31, 2020.

Ruchir Sharma, "The Comeback Nation, U.S. Economic Supremacy Has Repeatedly Proved Declinists Wrong," Foreign Affairs, March 31, 2020.

Carolyn Whitzman, "Could Coronavirus Lead To a Fairer World?" National Interest, March 31, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Donald Trump Needs to Focus on Coronavirus (Not Fighting with China and the EU)," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Florian Bieber, "Authoritarianism in the Time of the Coronavirus, The Pandemic Offers Dictators—and Democracies Alike—an Opportunity for Abuse." Foreign Policy, March 30, 2020.

Daniel W. Drezner, "The Most Counterintuitive Prediction about World Politics and the Coronavirus, What If Nothing Changes?" Washington Post, March 30, 2020.

Selam Gebrekidan, "For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power," New York Times, March 30, 2020.

Daniel J. Ikenson, "The Coronavirus Crisis Is the Worst Time For Trump To Put Up Trade Barriers," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Elizabeth Kolbert, "Pandemics and the Shape of Human History, Outbreaks Have Sparked Riots and Propelled Public-Health Innovations, Prefigured Revolutions and Redrawn Maps." New Yorker, March 20, 2020.

Simon Lester, "The Coronavirus Crisis Is the Right Time For Free Trade," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Simon Mair, "Why Coronavirus May Change the World (For Better or Worse)," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "U.S. Leadership Will Survive Coronavirus," Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2020.

Chris Murphy, "The U.S. Government Must Prepare Now for the Next Pandemic," Foreign Policy, March 30, 2020.

Matthew Petti, "Lincoln Chafee: Stop Endless Wars To Deal With Coronavirus Pandemic," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "The National Security Council Sounded Early Alarms about the Coronavirus," Washington Post, March 30, 2020.

Michael Rubin, "Washington Post's Broadside against Mike Pompeo Is Wildly Unfair," Washington Examiner, March 30, 2020. (Responds to the March 29, 2020, writing below by Jackson Diehl.)

Jeff M. Smith, "How America Is Leading the 'Quad Plus' Group of Seven Countries in Fighting the Coronavirus," National Interest, March 30, 2020.

Jackson Diehl, "Pompeo's Pandemic Performance Ensures His Place Among the Worst Secretaries of State Ever," Washington Post, March 29, 2020. (For a response, see the March 30, 2020, writing above by Michael Rubin.)

Brett McGurk, "America Should Build an International Coalition Now; The United States Has an Urgent Interest in Filling the Global Leadership Void During This Stateless Scourge." Atlantic, March 29, 2020.

Nahal Toosi, "Coronavirus Rattles America's National Security Priesthood," Politico Pro, March 29, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Donald Trump Offered to Help North Korea on Coronavirus. Why Not Iran?" National Interest, March 27, 2020.

David Frum, "The Coronavirus Is Demonstrating the Value of Globalization," Atlantic, March 27, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Now's The Time To Become A Truly 'America First' Military, With Coronavirus Killing the Economy, We Can No Longer Afford to Project Power Everywhere." American Conservative, March 26, 2020.

Zack Beauchamp, "The Myth of Authoritarian Coronavirus Supremacy," Vox, March 26, 2020.

Fred Kaplan, "The Coronavirus Hasn't Stopped Trump From Undermining Our National Security," Slate, March 26, 2020.

Nicholas Mulder, "The Coronavirus War Economy Will Change the World," Foreign Policy, March 26, 2020.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "COVID-19's Painful Lesson about Strategy and Power," War on the Rocks, March 26, 2020.

Paul R. Pillar, "Donald Trump's Nationalist Response to the Coronavirus," National Interest, March 26, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "America's $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package Ignores the Rest of the World," Washington Post, March 26, 2020.

Ali Wyne, "Why China and the U.S. Can't Cooperate to Fight Coronavirus," Washington Post, March 26, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "How the Coronavirus Shows North Korea Doesn't Matter That Much to America," National Interest, March 25, 2020.

Noah Barkin, "Germany's Strategic Gray Zone With China," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 25, 2020.

Kevin Baron, "Trump Could Have Led the World Against the Coronavirus," Defense One, March 25, 2020.

Pete McKenzie, "America's Allies Are Becoming a Nuclear-Proliferation Threat," Defense One, March 25, 2020.

Peter Rough, "How China is Exploiting the Coronavirus to Weaken Democracies," Foreign Policy, March 25, 2020.

Micah Zenko, "The Coronavirus Is the Worst Intelligence Failure in U.S. History," Foreign Policy, March 25, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Great Power Competition After the Coronavirus Crisis: What Should America Do?" National Interest, March 24, 2020.

Paul Haenle and Lucas Tcheyan, "U.S.-China Cooperation on Coronavirus Hampered by Propaganda War," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 24, 2020.

Mark Hannah, "Will America's Coronavirus Response Inspire Countries to Follow China's Model?" National Interest, March 24, 2020.

Jonathan Marcus, "Coronavirus: US-China Battle Behind the Scenes," BBC News, March 24, 2020.

Mira Rapp-Hooper, "China, America, and the International Order After the Pandemic," War on the Rocks, March 24, 2020.

Brett Schaefer and Charles Stimson, "How the U.S. Should Respond to the ICC's Decision to Investigate Americans," Heritage Foundation, March 24, 2020.

Anne Applebaum, "The People in Charge See an Opportunity, Around the World, Rulers Are Using the Pandemic As An Excuse to Grab More Power. And the Public Is Going Along with It." Atlantic, March 23, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "A War of Words With China Helps Nobody," Foreign Policy, March 23, 2020.

Dan Blumenthal, "Donald Trump's China Problem Has Arrived," National Interest, March 23, 2020.

Elisabeth Braw, "As the West Panics, Putin Is Watching," Foreign Policy, March 23, 2020.

Emily de La Bruyere and Nathan Picarsic, "Competition Meets Crisis: China's Perverse Opportunity and a Strategic Response," National Interest, March 23, 2020.

Editorial Board, "The Coronavirus Pandemic May Mark a Decline in U.S. Leadership," Washington Post, March 23, 2020.

Olivia Enos, "The U.S. Should Do More to Tackle Forced Labor in Xinjiang," Heritage Foundation, March 23, 2020.

Azeem Ibrahim, "China's Debt Diplomacy Will Get a Coronavirus Boost," Foreign Policy, March 23, 2020.

Matthew Kroenig, "Pandemics Can Fast Forward the Rise and Fall of Great Powers," National Interest, March 23, 2020.

Stephen S. Roach and Daniel J. Arbess, "US Lives and Economic Stability Are Threatened by Coronavirus Conflict with China," The Hill, March 23, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "The Death of American Competence, Washington's Reputation for Expertise Has Been One of the Greatest Sources of Its Power. The Coronavirus Pandemic May End It for Good." Foreign Policy, March 23, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Coronavirus Means America Is Really Broke. Trump Should Get the Hell Out of Syria." National Interest, March 22, 2020.

Gordon G. Chang, "Donald Trump Can't Cooperate with China on Coronavirus," National Interest, March 22, 2020.

Michael Crowley, Edward Wong and Lara Jakes, "Coronavirus Drives the U.S. and China Deeper Into Global Power Struggle," New York Times, March 22, 2020.

Melinda Haring and Doug Klain, "Why Autocrats Love Coronavirus," National Interest, March 22, 2020.

Ronald E. Neumann and Marc Grossman, "More US Diplomats Need to Be Overseas to Best Serve America," The Hill, March 22, 2020.

Stratfor Worldview, "Coronavirus Could Lead To Lots of This in the Near Future," National Interest, March 22, 2020. (The article discusses potential actions by non-state actors.)

John Allen et al., "How the World Will Look after the Coronavirus Pandemic," Foreign Policy, March 20, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Saving the World's International Organizations," Heritage Foundation, March 20, 2020.

Ari Cicurel, "'Endless Wars' and Political Warfare," The Hill, March 20, 2020.

Steven Erlanger, "Another Virus Victim: The U.S. as a Global Leader in a Time of Crisis," New York Times, March 20 (updated March 22), 2020.

Richard Fontaine, "Virus Competition Is Wrecking China-U.S. Cooperation Hopes, Coronavirus Efforts Are A New Battlefront—and Beijing Is the Only One in the Game." Foreign Policy, March 20, 2020.

James Holmes, "Beware of Pandemic America, Note to China and Russia: Despite Appearances, the Time of Coronavirus May Not Be an Opportune Time for You to Chisel Away at America's Global Standing." National Interest, March 20, 2020.

Yang Jiang, "China's Moment of Vindication," Danish Institute for International Studies, March 20, 2020.

Suzanne Nossel, "China Is Fighting the Coronavirus Propaganda War to Win," Foreign Policy, March 20, 2020.

Kori Schake, "The Damage That 'America First' Has Done," Atlantic, March 20, 2020.

Gary J. Schmitt, "National Security and the Pandemic of 2020," American Interest, March 20, 2020.

Katie Bo Williams, "US-China Tensions Heat Up As Beijing Seeks Leadership Role," Defense One, March 20, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "On Iraq, Is Donald J. Trump Morphing Into George W. Bush?" American Conservative, March19, 2020.

David Ignatius, "The Coronavirus Is A Test of Our National Character," Washington Post, March 19, 2020.

David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, Sui-Lee Wee, and Katrin Bennhold, "Search for Coronavirus Vaccine Becomes a Global Competition, The United States, China and Europe are battling to be the first to find a cure, bringing a nationalist element to a worldwide crisis." New York Times, March 19, 2020.

Morten Soendergaard Larsen and Robbie Gramer, "China Casts Itself as Global Savior While U.S. and EU Focus on Virus at Home," Foreign Policy, March 19, 2020.

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han, "China's Coronavirus Plan: Create a 'Silk Road' of Health Care Leading Towards World Dominance," National Interest, March 19, 2020.

Alan Crawford and Peter Martin, "China Showers Europe With Virus Aid While Sparring With Trump," Bloomberg, March 19, 2020.

Daniel B. Baer, "The Virus Has Exposed the Recklessness of Trump's 'America First,'" Foreign Policy, March 18, 2020.

Dan Blumenthal, "Coronavirus and the Future of US-China Geopolitical Competition: What We Know So Far," Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 18, 2020.

Kurt M. Campbell and Rush Doshi, "The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order, China Is Maneuvering for International Leadership as the United States Falters," Foreign Affairs, March 18, 2020.

Joseph Haboush, "The US Must Remain Engaged in Lebanon or Risk Russian and Chinese Gains," Middle East Institute, March 18, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "Beijing Escalates the New Cold War," Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2020.

Mie Oba, "Coronavirus and the Future of Globalization," Diplomat, March 18, 2020.

Wilson VornDick, "America Must Have a Grander Strategy for China," National Interest, March 16, 2020.

Eva Siewert, "How China Is Expanding Beyond Western Institutions," Diplomat, March 16, 2020.

Dov S. Zakheim, "NATO's Budget Virus: How the Pandemic Could Slash Military Spending," The Hill, March 16, 2020.

Joshua Meservey and Alexander St. Leger, "America's Opportunity to Quell Russian Meddling in Libya," Heritage Foundation, March 13, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Not Even South Korea Deserves Unlimited Defense From America," American Conservative, March 12, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Bernie Sanders Is a Foreign Policy Disappointment; A Sanders Presidency Would Likely Have Been a Major Disappointment to Americans Who Want a More Restrained and Sensible Foreign Policy." National Interest, March 12, 2020.

Philippe Legrain Marc, "The Coronavirus Is Killing Globalization as We Know It," Foreign Policy, March 12, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Syria Is the War Nobody Wins, Except Maybe Trump," Heritage Foundation, March 11, 2020.

James Andrew Lewis, "Strategy After Deterrence," Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 11, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Trump Administration Policy Inadvertently Aids the Xi Government," Cato Institute, March 10, 2020.

David Ignatius, "Trump's Pushback Against China Pays Off with An Important Win," Washington Post, March 10, 2020.

Daniel Kochis, "Recent EU Strategic Autonomy Advances Threaten the Transatlantic Link," Heritage Foundation, March 9, 2020.

Patrick Tyrrell and Anthony B. Kim, "Foreign Aid Should Go to Those in Need, Not Ruling Elites," Heritage Foundation, March 9, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "The Brutal Tragedy of Idlib: Why the U.S. Should Stay out of Syria and Dump NATO," National Interest, March 7, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Trump's Policy Inadvertently Aids the Xi Government," China-US Focus, March 6, 2020.

James Jay Carafano and Daniel Kochis, "The Quiet Success of Trump's Politically Appointed Ambassadors in Europe," Heritage Foundation, March 5, 2020.

Michael Rubin, "Pompeo's State Department Keeps Supporting Islamic Extremists," National Interest, March 3, 2020.

Clark Packard, Scott Lincicome, Kimberly Clausing, and Mary Lovely, "How to Make America's Next Trade Policy," Bulwark, March 2, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "Grow Up About Dictators, America!" Foreign Policy, March 2, 2020.

Peter Harris, "America Alone: Why the Trump Administration Will Pay for Alienating Its Strategic Partners," National Interest, February 28, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "3 Big Takeaways From Trump's Successful Trip to India," Heritage Foundation, February 27, 2020.

Svante E. Cornell and Brenda Shaffer, "The United States Needs to Declare War on Proxies," Foreign Policy, February 27, 2020.

Scott Lincicome, "Who Are the Real Trade 'Fundamentalists'?" Dispatch, February 27, 2020.

Philip Stephens, "Donald Trump's America Is Threatening the Nuclear Peace," Financial Times, February 27, 2020.

Peter Rough, "Europe Is Thinking Harder About Divorcing America," Foreign Policy, February 26, 2020.

Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, "Trump's Most Dangerous Destruction," Atlantic, February 25, 2020.

Charles Kenny, "The Case for Closing the Pentagon," Politico, February 25, 2020.

Keith Johnson, "What Trump Really Doesn't Get About Trade," Foreign Policy, February 24, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "Does the Arc of History Bend Toward Idlib?" Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2020.

James Jay Carafano, "Donald Trump: A Great Decision Maker?" National Interest, February 23, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "How Barack Obama's Good 'Intentions' Destroyed Libya," National Interest, February 23, 2020.

Uri Friedman, "What Democrats Aren't Admitting About Trump's Record," Atlantic, February 22, 2020.

Kevin Baron, "The West Can't Even Agree on Itself, Much Less China," Defense One, February 21, 2020.

Elisabeth Braw, "Will American Firms Put America First?" Foreign Policy, February 21, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Will the 2020 Candidates End Our Pointless Wars?" American Conservative, February 20, 2020.

Theodore Bromund, "The United States Should Withdraw from the U.N.'s Programme of Action on Small Arms," Heritage Foundation, February 20, 2020.

Agence France-Presse, "Despite Trade Wars, Trump Says US 'Open for Business,'" Agence France-Presse, February 19, 2020.

Hal Brands, "From Japan to Britain, the World Loves Hosting U.S. Troops," Bloomberg, February 19, 2020.

Jeff M. Smith, "Rising Above the Fray: The Trump-Modi Chapter in India-U.S. Relations," Heritage Foundation, February 19, 2020.

Olivia Enos, "Why the U.S. Government Should Prioritize the Release of Christian Pastor Wang Yi," Heritage Foundation, February 18, 2020.

Nile Gardiner, "Setting the Record Straight on American Leadership of the West," Heritage Foundation, February 18, 2020.

David J. Lynch, "Trump's Recent Trade Moves Show Adversarial Approach Has Only Just Begun," Washington Post, February 18, 2020.

Uri Friedman, "American Is Alone in Its Cold War With China," Atlantic, February 17, 2020.

Joel Gehrke, "'It Is Dangerous': France's Macron Startles Allies and Angers US Officials with Defense Proposals," Washington Examiner, February 17, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "Europeans Try to Have It Both Ways," Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2020.

Gideon Rachman, "Donald Trump's Erratic Style of Diplomacy Has a Price," Financial Times, February 17, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Time to Drop Defense Guarantees to the Philippines," American Spectator, February 16, 2020.

Michael Birnbaum, Loveday Morris, and John Hudson, "Europe Is Watching the U.S. Presidential Campaign—and Holding Its Breath About Trump and Sanders," Washington Post, February 16, 2020.

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Josh Dawsey, "Trump's Soft Touch with China's Xi Worries Advisers Who Say More Is Needed to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak," Washington Post, February 16, 2020.

Noah Barkin, "The U.S. and Europe Are Speaking a Different Language on China," Foreign Policy, February 16, 2020.

Michael Birnbaum, John Hudson, and Loveday Morris, "At Munich Security Conference, an Atlantic Divide: U.S. Boasting and European Unease," Washington Post, February 15, 2020.

Robin Emmott and John Irish, "'The West Is Winning,' U.S. Tells China; France Wary," Reuters, February 15, 2020.

Michelle Fitzpatrick, "US, Europe Clash over Washington's Global Retreat," Agence France-Presse, February 15, 2020.

David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger, "'The West Is Winning,' Pompeo Said. The West Wasn't Buying It." New York Times, February 15, 2020.

Nancy A Youssef, James Marson, and Laurence Norman, "U.S.-Europe Divide Gets Spotlight at Security Conference," Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020.

Robert Burns, "While US Worries About China, Europe Stays Focused on Russia," Associated Press, February 13, 2020.

Tarun Chhabra, Scott Moore, and Dominic Tierney, "The Left Should Play the China Card; Foreign Policy Rivalry Inspires Progress at Home," Foreign Affairs, February 13, 2020.

Walter Lohman, "Let's Keep Our Nerve on U.S.-Philippines Relations," Heritage Foundation, February 13, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "The U.S. and Europe Are Headed for A Showdown on China in Munich," Washington Post, February 13, 2020.

Edward Wong, "US. Faces Tough 'Great Game' Against China in Central Asia and Beyond," New York Times, February 13, 2020.

Noah Bierman and staff writer, "White House Quietly Trims Dozens of National Security Experts," Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2020.

Hal Brands, "Yes, Ukraine Matters to the U.S.," Bloomberg, February 12, 2020.

Michael Brenes and Michael Franczak, "2 East Ways to Shrink America's Overseas Footprint," Foreign Policy, February 11, 2020.

Michael Fullilove, "How I Lost My Faith in America, The World Still Wants to Believe in the U.S. But It Needs Some Help." Atlantic, February 11, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "State Department Excludes Taiwan from Religious Freedom Alliance," Washington Post, February 11, 2020.

Brett D. Schaefer and James Jay Carafano, "U.S. Shouldn't Rejoin U.N. 'Tourism' Agency, Despite Trump's Budget Request," Heritage Foundation, February 11, 2020.

Chris Walsh, "Why US Democracy Support Matters," The Hill, February 11, 2020.

Graham Allison, "The New Spheres of Influence, Sharing the Globe with Other Great Powers," Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2020.

Kathleen Hicks, "Getting to Less, The Truth About Defense Spending," Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2020.

Stephen D. Krasner, "Learning to Live With Despots, The Limits of Democracy Protection," Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2020.

Bonnie Kristian, "Donald Trump's Erratic Foreign Policy Is a Failure," National Interest, February 10, 2020.

Stephen Wertheim, "The Price of Primacy, Why America Shouldn't Dominate the World," Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2020.

Thomas Wright, "The Folly of Retrenchment, Why America Can't Withdraw From the World," Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2020.

Hal Brands, "John Quincy Adams Isn't Who You Think He Is, The Sixth President Has Become an Icon for Those Wanting to Shrink America's Global Role, But He Was Actually A Die-Hard Expansionist," Bloomberg, February 8, 2020.

William J. Burns, "Impunity Is Triumphing Over Integrity, Trump's Attacks on Public Servants Will Do Lasting Damage to American Diplomacy," Atlantic, February 8, 2020.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, "Tough Talk, Candor and Resilience Are Admired in My Country. The President Is Perceived to Have These Traits," Washington Post, February 7, 2020.

Joel Simon, "How Trump Has Reversed Decades of American Hostage Policy," New Yorker, February 7, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Our Military Is Clashing with Russians While Defending Syrian Oil. Why?" American Conservative, February 6, 2020.

Josh Rogin, "Trump's Foreign Policy Is All Politics, No Policy," Washington Post, February 6, 2020.

Ruby Mellen and Siobhán O'Grady, "How Trump's State of the Union Addressed Foreign Policy," Washington Post, February 6 (posted online February 5), 2019.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Trump's Brass Knuckles Tactics Toward the European Allies," Cato Institute, February 5, 2020.

Daniel W. Drezner, "Donald Trump's Potemkin Foreign Policy," Washington Post, February 5, 2020.

Robbie Gramer, "At Embassies Abroad, Trump Envoys Are Quietly Pushing Out Career Diplomats," Foreign Policy, February 5, 2020.

Mollie Hemingway, "13 Key Takeaways From President Trump's Epic State Of The Union Address," Federalist, February 5, 2020.

Michael Hirsh, Amy Mackinnon, and Robbie Gramer, "5 Foreign-Policy Takeaways from Trump's State of the Union," Foreign Policy, February 5, 2020.

Daniel R. DePetris, "Impeachment Is Damaging America In One Nearly Forgotten Way, Two Words: Foreign Policy," National Interest, February 4, 2020.

John Gans, "Trump Finally Has the Dangerous Foreign-Policy Process He Always Wanted," Foreign Policy, February 4, 2020.

Alex Hobson, "An Eye for an Eye Doesn't Make Americans Safer," Foreign Policy, February 4, 2020.

Adam Taylor, "What Trump Said About Foreign Policy in Last Year's State of the Union (and What Actually Happened)," Washington Post, February 4, 2020.

Kathy Gilsinan, "Iraq Is the One War Zone Trump Doesn't Want to Leave," Atlantic, February 3, 2020.

Michael Hirsh, "Berned Beyond Recognition: How Sander's Rise Changes U.S. Foreign Policy," Foreign Policy, February 3, 2020.

Casey Michel, "How the US Became the Center of Global Kleptocracy," Vox, February 3, 2020.

Caleb Slayton, "Africa: The First U.S. Casualty of the New Information Warfare Against China," War on the Rocks, February 3, 2020.

Alex Ward, "Why Trump's Acquittal Will Damage US Foreign Policy," Vox, February 3, 2020.

Stefano Gennarini and Grace Melton, "Promises Kept: The Trump Administration Has Paved the Way for Promoting the Culture of Life," National Interest, February 2, 2020.

A. Trevor Thrall and Jordan Cohen, "Trump Extends Travel Ban to 6 Countries — but Is OK with Selling Arms to Those Same Places," Cato Institute, January 31, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Trump Ignores the Saudis' Awful Record on Religious Freedom," Cato Institute, January 30, 2020.

Tom Rogan, "Why China Is a Bigger Threat Than the Soviet Union," Washington Examiner, January 30, 2020.

Michael Krepon, "The Long-Term Costs of NATO Expansion," National Interest, January 29, 2020.

Ali Wyne and Michael J. Mazarr, "The Real US-China Competition: Competing Theories of Influence," Interpreter, January 29, 2020.

Robert Malley and Aaron David Miller, "The Real Goal of Trump's Middle East Plan," Politico, January 28, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Stop Treating U.S. Military as Mercenary Force Hired Out to Protect Saudi Royals," American Spectator, January 24, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Trump is Right: Afghanistan is a 'Loser War,'" American Conservative, January 23, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Trump's Critics Show Their Own Sterile Thinking about Foreign Policy," National Interest, January 23, 2020.

James Phillips, "The Suleimani Strike: The Right Call to Make," Heritage Foundation, January 23, 2020.

Jeff M. Smith, "Is America On the Decline And Ceding Its Position to China in Asia?" National Interest, January 21, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Donald Trump's Iran Obsession Comes Down to 2 Words: Barack Obama," National Interest, January 20, 2020.

Steven A. Cook, "Outrage Culture Is Ruining Foreign Policy," Foreign Policy, January 20, 2020.

Niall Ferguson, "Cold War II Has America at a Disadvantage as China Courts Russia," Boston Globe, January 20, 2020.

Anatol Klass, "Did the United States Just Bless Chinese Authoritarianism?" Washington Post, January 20, 2020.

Dimitri Simes, "The Rift Between Turkey and America Has Paved the Way for Russia's Rebound," National Interest, January 20, 2020.

Anne Gearan and John Hudson, "Trump's Strong-Arm Foreign Policy Tactics Create Tensions with U.S. Friends and Foes," Washington Post, January 19, 2020.

Robert D. Kaplan, "Why the U.S.-China Cold War Will Be Different," National Interest, January 19, 2020.

William Saletan, "Trump Is a Remorseless Advocate of Crimes Against Humanity," Slate, January 18, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "In Bullying Iraq, America is Starting to Look Like the New Evil Empire," American Conservative, January 17, 2020.

Tom McTague, "Donald Trump Stumbles Into a Foreign-Policy Triumph," Atlantic, January 17, 2019.

David Von Drehle, "Trump's Mercenary Foreign Policy Confirms What Our Worst Critics Say of Us," Washington Post, January 17, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Note to Trump: Iraq is Not a U.S. Colony," American Conservative, January 16, 2020.

Hal Brands, "Does U.S. Credibility Matter? Trump Is Putting It to the Test," Bloomberg, January 16, 2020.

Robbie Gramer, "Pompeo's Silence Creates a 'Crisis of Morale' at State Department," Foreign Policy, January 16, 2020.

Claes G. Ryn, "Donald J. Trump and the 'America First' Fairy Tale," National Interest, January 16, 2020.

Bob Davis, "U.S.-China Deal Could Upend the Way Nations Settle Disputes," Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2020.

Jonathan Stearns, "Europe Threatens Legal Challenge to U.S.-China Trade Pact at WTO," Bloomberg, January 16, 2020.

Bruce Stokes, "Trump's Growing European Base," Foreign Policy, January 16, 2020.

Matthew Bodner, "What Was Russia's Putin Up To After the Death of Iran's Soleimani?" Defense News, January 15, 2020.

Max Boot, "These 7 Impulses Explain Trump's Inexplicable Foreign Policy," Washington Post, January 15, 2020.

Douglas London, "The President, His Relationship with Intelligence, and the Soleimani Strike," Just Security, January 15, 2020.

Ashley Parker, "New Book Portrays Trump as Erratic, 'At Times Dangerously Uninformed,'" Washington Post, January 15, 2020.

Asli Aydintasbas, "This Is Putin's World Now," Washington Post, January 14, 2020.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Putin's Russia Is Not the Soviet Union Reborn," National Interest, January 14, 2020.

Thomas L. Friedman, "Trump's Code of Dishonor," New York Times, January 14, 2020.

Paul McCleary, "China, Russia Press For Mideast Gains While US Talks Of Withdrawal," Breaking Defense, January 14, 2020.

Elizabeth Rosenberg and Neil Bhatiya, "Trump Has Made Sanctions a Path to Strikes," Foreign Policy, January 14, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Why NATO to the Middle East Is A Really Bad Idea," The Hill, January 13, 2020.

Isaac Chatiner, "Andrew Bacevich on U.S. Foreign Policy Mistakes," New Yorker, January 13, 2020.

Alan W. Dowd, "NATO And America's Alliances Are A Good Deal For The American People," National Interest, January 13, 2020.

Peter Harris, "Trump's War of Choice with Iran," National Interest, January 13, 2020.

Ron Huisken, "US-China Rivalry and the Future of Interdependence," Strategist, January 13, 2020.

Kay C. James, "Congress' Personal Disdain for Trump Impedes National Security," Washington Times, January 13, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "Freedom Stages a Comeback, Even When Officials Push Realpolitik, the U.S. Remains a Beacon of Liberty to the World," Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2020.

David Nakamura, "Muted on Hong Kong Demonstrations, Trump Showers Support on Iranian Protestors and Seeks to Score Points on Democrats," Washington Post, January 13, 2020.

Stuart Schrader, "The Global Policeman Will Always Shoot People," Foreign Policy, January 13, 2020.

Stephen N. Walt, "Why Is the United States So Bad at Foreign Policy?" Foreign Policy, January 13, 2020.

Amy Zegart, "The Race for Big Ideas Is On, The United States Faces Genuinely New Global Challenges—But Tries to Understand Them Using Outmoded Theories from a Bygone Era," Atlantic, January 13, 2020.

Paul Sonne, Greg Jaffe, and Josh Dawsey, "Killing Soleimani Reflects an Aggressive National Security Team Not Inclined to Curb Trump," Washington Post, January 12, 2020.

Hans A. von Spakovsky, "Hans von Spakovsky: Trump killing of Soleimani and Action Against Iran Legal—Despite Democratic Complaints" Fox News, January 11, 2020.

Nikolas K. Gvosdev, "The Carter Doctrine Conundrum: Has Trump Repudiated a Foundational Element of U.S. National Security Strategy?" National Interest, January 10, 2020.

Andrew Sullivan, "Donald Trump Is the War Crimes President," New York, January 10, 2019.

Benjamin Denison, "Regime change rarely succeeds. When will the U.S. learn?" Washington Post, January 9, 2020.

Marc Fisher, "For Trump, Foreign Relationships Aren't About Strategy. They're About Cash." Washington Post, January 9, 2020.

David Mednicoff, "The US-Iran Conflict and the Consequences of International Law-Breaking," The Conversation, January 9, 2020.

Clark Packard, "Trump's Real Trade War Is Being Waged on the WTO," Foreign Policy, January 9, 202.

Jim Webb, "When Did It Become Acceptable to Kill a Top Leader of a Country We Aren't Even at War With?" Washington Post, January 9, 2020.

Edward Wong, "Trump Administration's Actions in Middle East Complicate Its Criticisms of China," New York Times, January 9, 2020.

James Freeman, "A Reagan Revival in Trump's Foreign Policy?" Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2020.

Harold Hongju Koh, "Is Preemptive Assassination the New Trump Doctrine?" Foreign Policy, January 8, 2020.

Klaus W. Larres, "Trump Asks NATO Allies for Help with Iran after years of Bashing the Alliance," The Conversation, January 8, 2020.

Paul R. Pillar, "Making America Rogue Again," National Interest, January 8, 2020.

Andrew Prokop, "Dominance and Reputation: How Trump Thinks About Iran," Vox, January 8, 2020.

David Sacks, "Suleimani's Assassination Marks the Death of the Trump Administration's Realism," National Interest, January 8, 2020.

Elizabeth Cobbs and Kimberly C. Field, "Why Did the U.S. Kill Suleimani? The Attack Illustrates America's Lack of a Clear Grand Strategy—and Why We Need One Immediately," New York Times, January 7, 2020.

David A. Graham, "The Iranian Humiliation Trump Is Trying to Avenge," Atlantic, January 7, 2020.

Tiana Lowe, "Trump's Strike on Qassem Soleimani Did Put 'America First,'" Washington Examiner, January 7, 2020.

Jack Shafer, "Trump's Maybe War with Iran, Faced with a Foreign Crisis, the President Wants Everyone to Know He Might Do Something. But Also That He Might Not." Politico, January 7, 2020.

Tyler Cowen, "War Crimes? That's Not How to Deter Iran, Even Assassinating Military Leaders Is Bad for America's Long-Term Interests," Bloomberg, January 6, 2020.

Charlie Dunlap, "Would Attacking Sites 'Important' to 'Iranian Culture' Be a 'War Crime'? (Not Always)," Lawfire, January 6, 2020.

Milton Ezrati, "America Should Not Psych Itself Out Over China's Rise," National Interest, January 6, 2020.

Max Fisher, "What Is Trump's Iran Strategy? Few Seem to Know," New York Times, January 6, 2020.

Farah N. Jan and Justin Melnick, "China's Challenge to America's Political and Economic Liberal Order," National Interest, January 6, 2020.

Paul Krugman, "Trump the Intimidator Fails Again," New York Times, January 6, 2020.

Walter Russell Mead, "Pompeo Explains the Iran Policy," Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2020.

Evan Osnos, "The Future of America's Contest with China," New Yorker, January 6, 2020.

Thomas Spoehr, "Reputations and Respect Are Earned by Action, Not Talk," Daily Signal, January 6, 2020.

Thomas Spoehr, "War with Iran? Some People Think We're Already in One. They're Wrong," Washington Examiner, January 6, 2020.

Lara Jakes, "Defenders of History Take Aim at Trump's Threat to Strike Iran's Cultural Sites," New York Times, January 5 (updated January 6), 2020.

Greg Miller, "Trump Faces Iran Crisis with Fewer Experienced Advisors and Strained Relations with Traditional Allies," Washington Post, January 5, 2020.

Doug Bandow, "Donald Trump's Iran Policy Comes Down to One Word: Chaos," National Interest, January 4, 2020.

Christopher Bedford, "Killing Soleimani Was The Right Move, And Shows Precisely Why It's Time To Leave Iraq," Federalist, January 4, 2020.

Eliot A. Cohen, "Trump Is Playing Chess One Turn at a Time, An Impulsive President Tries to Look Tough without Being Prepared to Follow Through," Atlantic, January 4, 2020.

James Phillips, "How US Strike Against Iranian General Changes Rules of Game in Iraq, Region," Daily Signal, January 4, 2020.

Stephen M. Walt, "Trump's Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead," Foreign Policy, January 3, 2020.

Chris [Christopher] Preble and John Glaser, "Trump Stokes Endless War: His Attack on an Iranian Military Leader Will Come Back to Haunt Him and Us," New York Daily News, January 3, 2020.

Jennifer Rubin, "Trump Has Raised Strategic Incoherence to New Levels with Soleimani's Killing," Washington Post, January 3, 2020.

Ben Westcott, "There's Talk of a New Cold War. But China Is Not the Soviet Union," CNN, January 3, 2020.

Fred Kaplan, "Trump Is Clueless on Iran and North Korea," Slate, January 2, 2020.

Jeff Stein, "How Russia Saw Trump: 'A Potential Asset and an Exploitable Victim,'" Washington Post, January 2, 2019. (Book review of Malcolm Nance, The Plot to Betray America, Hachette, 2019, 358 pp.)

Elbridge A. Colby and A. Wess Mitchell, "The Age of Great-Power Competition," Foreign Affairs, January/February 2020.

Kathleen H. Hicks and Joseph P. Federici, Getting to Less? Exploring the Press for Less in America's Defense Commitments, Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 2020, 9 pp.

Doug Bandow, "America's Lawmakers Keep Writing Blank Checks for Foreign Wars," National Interest, December 30, 2019.

Doug Bandow, "Does Congress Hate America?" National Interest, December 30, 2019.

James Jay Carafano, "James Carafano: US airstrikes in Mideast—Sending This Clear Message to Friends and Foes Alike," Fox News, December 30, 2019.

Derek Leebaert, "Postwar Delusions: Why America Keeps Making Mistakes Abroad," National Interest, December 25, 2019.

Brahma Chellaney, "Laboring Under the Illusion of a Rules-Based Global Order," Japan Times, December 23, 2019.

Keith Johnson, "Trump Turns Global Trade Upside Down," Foreign Policy, December 23, 2019.

Walter Russell Mead, "Pompeo Champions the Faithful," Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2019.

Park Chan-kyong, "As Seoul Loses Faith in Trump's Approach on North Korea, China Is Poised to Step In," South China Morning Post, December 22, 2019.

George Beebe, "Groupthink Resurgent," National Interest, December 22, 2019.

Jamey Keaten and Matthew Lee, "As Trump Shuns US Multilateralism, China Ups Diplomatic Ante," Associated Press, December 20, 2019.

Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, and Carol D. Leonnig, "Former White House Officials Say They Feared Putin Influenced the President's Views on Ukraine and 2016 Campaign," Washington Post, December 19, 2019.

Mary Jo Murphy, "Trump Countries," Washington Post, December 19, 2019.

Doug Bandow, "The Tragedy of Donald Trump: His Presidency Is Marred with Failure," National Interest, December 18, 2019.

Paul R. Pillar, "Misguided Wars: Lying Isn't the Main Problem," National Interest, December 18, 2019.

Seth Cropsey and Gary Roughead, "A U.S. Withdrawal Will Cause a Power Struggle in the Middle East," Foreign Policy, December 17, 2019.

Lara Jakes, "Why the State Dept. Has Largely Been Muted on India's Moves Against Muslims," New York Times, December 17, 2019.

Steven Keil, "Trans-Atlantic Relations a la Macron Could Make NATO's Brain Death a Self-fulfilling Prophecy," Defense News, December 17, 2019.

Ali Demirdas, "Does Russia Have Red Lines in Syria? And Will Donald Trump's Decision to Withdraw American Troops Going to [sic] Usher in An Era of Endless Russian Wars?" National Interest, December 16, 2019.

Uri Friedman, "Under Trump, the U.S. Has Become a Leading Source of Global Instability," Atlantic, December 16, 2019.

Fred Kaplan, "The Decade Big Power Politics Returned," Slate, December 16, 2019.

Bruce Klingner, Jung Pak, and Sue Mi Terry, "Opinion: Trump Shakedowns Are Threatening Two Key U.S. Alliances in Asia," Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2019.

Robert B. Zoellick, "Impeachable or Not, Trump's Foreign Policy Is Reckless," Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2019.

Matthew Continetti, "Present at the Demolition, The Post-WWII Order Is Ending—and Nothing Has Replaced It," National Review, December 14, 2019.

Hal Brands, Steven A. Cook, and Kenneth M. Pollack, "RIP the Carter Doctrine, 1980-2019, Donald Trump Has Torn Up a Foundation of U.S. Foreign Policy and Is Causing Irreparable Damage to the Middle East—and World Order—in the Process," Foreign Policy, December 13, 2019.

Derek Chollet, "An Inside Look at Trump's Foreign Policy: 'This Is Literally Insane,'" Washington Post, December 13, 2019. (Book review of Peter Bergen, Trump and His Generals, The Cost of Chaos, Penguin Press, 2019, 386 pp.)

Olivia Enos, "Codifying Religious Freedom as a U.S. Foreign Policy Priority," Heritage Foundation, December 13, 2019.

Samuel Moyn and Stephen Wertheim, "The Infinity War, We Say We're a Peaceful Nation. Why Do Our Leaders Always Keep Us at War?" Washington Post, December 13, 2019.

Anne Applebaum, "The False Romance of Russia," Atlantic, December 12, 2019.

Eli Ratner, Elizabeth Rosenberg, and Paul Scharre, "Beyond the Trade War, A Competitive Approach to Countering China," Foreign Affairs, December 12, 2019.

James Jay Carafano, "NATO After London: How Germany and the United States Can Lead the Alliance," Heritage Foundation, December 11, 2019.

Luke Coffey, "NATO Still Plays an Important Russian Resistance Role," Heritage Foundation, December 11, 2019.

Hal Brands, "U.S. Bets Old Ideas in a New Package Can Deter China," Bloomberg, December 11, 2019.

Kevin Baron, "'Are You in This?' If So Many Americans Believe Russia Is an Ally, China Is a Good Business Partner, and Terrorism Isn't Worth Fighting Anymore, How Can the United States Be Counted on for Global Security?" Defense One, December 10, 2019.

Ali Demirdas, "Is France Making a Power Play By Questioning the Value of NATO?" National Interest, December 10, 2019.

John Glaser and Christopher A. Preble, "High Anxiety: How Washington's Exaggerated Sense of Danger Harms Us All," Cato Institute, December 10, 2019.

Michael Hirsh, "Why Putin Is Smiling," Foreign Policy, December 10, 2019.

Keith Johnson, "How Trump May Finally Kill the WTO," Foreign Policy, December 9, 2019.

Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer, "Desperate to Save Diplomacy, White House Blocks U.N. Meeting on North Korean Atrocities," Foreign Policy, December 9, 2019.

Sumantra Maitra, "NATO's Troubles Are Not Going Away After Trump," Federalist, December 9, 2019.

William J. Burns, "An End to Magical Thinking in the Middle East," Atlantic, December 8, 2019.

Christopher A. Preble, "A Useful Corrective to China Fearmongering," Cato Institute, December 6, 2019.

Doug Bandow, "NATO No Longer Serves American Interests," National Interest, December 5, 2019.

Peter Bergen, "The Generals Tried to Keep Trump in Check. What Happens to Foreign Policy Now That They've Left?" Time, December 5, 2019.

James Jay Carafano, "Trump at NATO Summit—There Is Nothing New About Elitists Trashing Presidents," Heritage Foundation, December 5, 2019.

Ryan Heath, "Breaking Down Trump's Post-NATO Hot Spots," Politico, December 5, 2019.

Michael Moran, "What Trump Gets Right About Alliances," Foreign Policy, December 5, 2019.

Jim Townsend and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, "NATO Is Struggling Under Trans-Atlantic Tensions," Foreign Policy, December 5, 2019.

Nicholas Burns, "Trump Violates Diplomacy's Golden Rule, At the NATO Summit, the President Publicly Heaped Abuse on America's Closest Friends," Atlantic, December 4, 2019.

James Jay Carafano, "NATO, Macron, and Trump—Why This Meeting Is Already Different," Heritage Foundation, December 4, 2019.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "NATO's Dirty Little Secret Is Out," National Interest, December 4, 2019.

Steven A. Cook, "Pompeo's Departure Is Restoring the State Department's Swagger," Foreign Policy, December 4, 2019.

The Editors, "NATO Is Still Essential," National Review, December 4, 2019.

Jim Geraghty, "There's No Excuse for NATO Allies Not Meeting That 2 Percent Threshold," National Review, December 4, 2019.

Aamer Madhani (Associated Press), "Trump Aims for Role of NATO Statesman But Mars Unity Message," Military Times, December 4, 2019.

Tom McTague, "The Spiritual Disunity of the West," Atlantic, December 4, 2019.

Philip Stephens, "Crisis, What Crisis? The US Needs NATO As Much As Ever," Financial Times, December 4, 2019.

Conrad Black, "Trump's NATO Successes," National Review, December 3, 2019.

Hal Brands, "Macron Wants to Lead Europe. Why Would Europe Want That?" Bloomberg, December 3, 2019.

Kevin Baron, "NATO's Newest Threat Is Coming From Inside the House," Defense One, December 3, 2019.

Samuel Brannon, "Bad Idea: China-Driven U.S. Strategy," Center for Strategic and International Studies, December 3, 2019.

James Jay Carafano, "Be Thankful America Is Not Fighting 'Endless Wars,'" Heritage Foundation, December 3, 2019.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "NATO Summit 2019: The Remnants of a 'Zombie Alliance,'" Cato Institute, December 3, 2019.

Stephen Collinson and Caitlin Hu, "The Most Powerful Destabilizing Force Facing NATO Today," CNN, December 3, 2019.

Nancy Cook, "Disruptor in chief Trump bulldozes into NATO gathering," Politico, December 3, 2019.

Daniel L. Davis, "Russia Is Not The Soviet Union. So Why Can't Europe Help Pay More for NATO?" National Interest, December 3, 2019.

Victor Davis Hanson, "Trump's Foreign Policy: The Popping Point of Maximum Pressure," National Review, December 3, 2019.

David M. Herszenhorn Nancy Cook, and Rym Momtaz, "Now Playing in London: The Donald [Trump] and Emmanuel [Macron] Show," Politico, December 3, 2019.

Mark Hannah, "It's Not Just Trump. The American People Are Skeptical of NATO, Too." Politico, December 3, 2019.

David M. Herszenhorn and Rym Momtaz, "Allies Unite to Defend NATO—Against Macron," Politico, December 3, 2019.

Julia Ioffe, "Trump Is Waging War on America's Diplomats," GQ, December 3, 2019.

Simone McCarthy, "China and Russia forge deeper ties thanks to their common enemy: the United States," South China Morning Post, December 3, 2019.

Toluse Olorunnipa, "'Everybody Wants to Make a Deal': Struggling to Negotiate, Trump Often Claims Countries Are Eager to Talk," Washington Post, December 3, 2019.

Katie Rogers and Annie Karni, "In Tense Exchange, Trump and Macron Put Forth Dueling Visions for NATO," New York Times, December 3, 2019.

Julianne Smith and Garima Mohan, "The Trump Administration's Indo-Pacific Strategy Needs Proof of Life," National Interest, December 3, 2019.

Alex Ward, "Trump Thinks NATO Is Good Now—After Macron Criticized It," Vox, December 3, 2019.

Robin Emmott, Steve Holland, "Trump Lashes Out at European Allies Ahead of NATO Anniversary Summit," Reuters, December 2, 2019.

Frida Ghitis, "NATO Is Agreeing Not to Agree in the Age of Trump," Politico, December 2, 2019.

Melvyn P. Leffler, "China Isn't the Soviet Union. Confusing the Two Is Dangerous," Atlantic, December 2, 2019.

James Marson, "NATO Meeting Overshadowed by France's Macron," Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2019.

Tom Rogan, "Sensing NATO Discord, Putin Plays Macron Off Trump," Washington Examiner, December 2, 2019.

Robin Wright, "Trump Is Running Out of Time for a Meaningful Diplomatic Deal—Anywhere," New Yorker, December 2, 2019.

Hilde Eliassen Restad, "Whither the 'City Upon a Hill'? Donald Trump, America First, and American Exceptionalism," Texas National Security Review, December 2019.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, "We Aid the Growth of Chinese Tyranny to Our Eternal Shame," National Review, November 29, 2019.

Peter Harris, "Why Trump's Drone War Shows He Wants American Global Supremacy," National Interest, November 28, 2019.

"It's the End of the World Trade Organisation As We Know It, And America Feels Fine," Economist, November 28, 2019.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "The Rationale and Contours of an Amicable Transatlantic Security Divorce," Cato Institute, November 27, 2019.

Adam Serwer, "The War-Crimes President," Atlantic, November 27, 2019.

Rebeccah Heinrichs, "Mike Pompeo Is 'Keenly Aware' of the Threats Posed by China," National Review, November 26, 2019.

Bruce Klingner, "Don't Break Alliances Over Money," Heritage Foundation, November 26, 2019.

David Marcus, "Why Trump Marks The End Of The Post-Cold-War Period," Federalist, November 25, 2019.

Kristin Tate, "Negative American Trends Open Door to Chinese World Influence," The Hill, November 24, 2019.

Deborah Pearlstein, "Foreign Policy Isn't Just Up To Trump," Atlantic, November 23, 2019.

Daniel Sneider, "Ripple Effects of US Retreat in NE Asia," Asia Times, November 23, 2019.

Tim Roemer, "The U.S. Trade War Has Caught Beijing's Attention. Now Washington Needs a Longer-Term Plan." Foreign Policy, November 22, 2019.

Michael Moran, "Recognizing Israeli Settlements Marks the Final Collapse of Pax Americana," Foreign Policy, November 22, 2019.

Jay Nordlinger, "Moral Equivalence, Etc.," National Review, November 22, 2019.

James Palmer, "Donald Trump's America Can't Fight Xi Jinping's China," Foreign Policy, November 22, 2019.

Ted Galen Carpenter, "Trump's Bold East Asia Defense Financial Burden-Sharing Campaign," National Interest, November 21, 2019.

Uri Friedman, "America Hasn't Always Supported Ukraine Like This," Atlantic, November 21, 2019.

Nancy A. Youssef and Andrew Jeong, "The U.S.'s Quest for Military Unity on China Comes Up Short in Asia," Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2019.

James Jay Carafano and Riley Walters, "The Difference Between National Security and Foreign Competition," Heritage Foundation, November 20, 2019.

Carol Morello, "Skepticism Runs Deep at NATO as Pompeo Meets with Allies," Washington Post, November 20, 2019.

Hal Brands, "Europe and America Are Refighting the Cold War, and Both Can Win," Bloomberg, November 19, 2019.

Brett D. Schaefer, "Putting the U.S. Role in the U.N. Funding Crunch Into Context," Heritage Foundation, November 19, 2019.

Joel Gehrke, "'Our Worst Nightmare:' Lithuanian Officials Alarmed That Trump May Party with Putin," Washington Examiner, November 18, 2019.

Yomiuri Shimbun, "Political Scientist Ian Bremmer: American-led Order Is Over," Japan News, November 18, 2019.

William J. Burns, "Trump's Bureaucratic Arson," Atlantic, November 17, 2019.

Fred Hiatt, "While Trump Stands By, the World's Tyrants Are Trying to Make the World Safe for Dictatorship," Washington Post, November 17, 2019.

Abraham Newman and Daniel Nexon, "If the United States Doesn't Make The Rules, China Will," Foreign Policy, November 17, 2019.

Reza Hasmath and Jennifer Y.J. Hsu, "How Chinese Norms Are Going Global," Diplomat, November 16, 2019.

Daniel F. Runde, "Countering Malign Kremlin Influence Will Be with Us for Decades," The Hill, November 15, 2019.

Luke Baker, "On Russia and EU Enlargement, Macron Pushes a Radical Agenda," Reuters, November 14, 2019.

Uri Friedman, "What America's Allies Really Think About Trump's Syria Decision," Atlantic, November 14, 2019.

Daniel Kochis, "The Future of the Transatlantic Partnership in an Era of Great Power Competition," Heritage Foundation, November 14, 2019.

Conrad Black, "A Post-Post-Cold-War NATO," National Review, November 13, 2019.

Daniel DePetris, "3 Major Reforms NATO Needs To Keep From Collapsing," Federalist, November 13, 2019.

Sumantra Maitra, "French President Emmanuel Macron Gets Trumpian On NATO," Federalist, November 13, 2019.

Nick Danforth and Daphne McCurdy, "The United States Can't Have It All," Foreign Policy, November 12, 2019.

David Ignatius, "People Died While Trump Played Games with Ukraine's Military Aid," Washington Post, November 12, 2019.

Stephanie Ruhle and Carol E. Lee, "In Private Speech, Bolton Suggests Some of Trump's Foreign Policy Decisions Are Guided by Personal Interest," NBC News, November 12, 2019.

Walter Russell Mead, "NATO Isn't Dead, but It's Ailing," Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2019.

Nahal Toosi, "Trump's Plan to Shrink NSC Staff Draws Fire," Politico, November 11, 2019.

Nahal Toosi and Gabby Orr, "Trump Weighs Conditioning Foreign Aid on Religious Freedom," Politico, November 11, 2019.

Nikolas K. Gvosdev, "Can a 'Trumpian' Foreign Policy Stick?" National Interest, November 9, 2019.

Ariel Cohen, "America's Great-Power Problems Will Come Back to Haunt It in the Middle East," National Interest, November 8, 2019.

Jacob Heilbrunn, "Emmanuel Macron Is Right: NATO Is Over," Washington Post, November 8, 2019.

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James Carafano et al., "How and Why American Conservatives Must Fight for the Future of the Transatlantic Community," Heritage Foundation, November 7, 2019.

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Author Contact Information

Ronald O'Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
Michael Moodie, Assistant Director and Senior Specialist in Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

Other terms used to refer to the liberal international order include U.S.-led international order, postwar international order, rules-based international order, and open international order. Observers sometimes substitute world for international, or omit international or world and refer simply to the liberal order, the U.S.-led order, and so on. In the terms liberal international order and liberal order, the word liberal does not refer to the conservative-liberal construct often used in discussing contemporary politics in the United States or other countries. It is, instead, an older use of the term that refers to an order based on the rule of law, as opposed to an order based on the arbitrary powers of hereditary monarchs.

2.

For additional discussion, see CRS In Focus IF10485, Defense Primer: Geography, Strategy, and U.S. Force Design, by Ronald O'Rourke.

3.

Although the goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons was not articulated in explicit terms (at least not widely) by U.S. strategists until World War II and the years immediately thereafter, U.S. participation in World War I against Germany can in retrospect be viewed as an earlier U.S. action reflecting this goal.

4.

U.S. participation in the Vietnam War was justified in part by the so-called domino theory, which argued that a victory by communist-ruled North Vietnam over South Vietnam could be followed by other countries in the region falling, like dominos in a row, under communist control. Opponents of the domino theory challenged its validity and argue that it was disproven when North Vietnam's defeat of South Vietnam was not followed by other countries in the region falling under communist control. The theory's supporters argue that the theory was not disproven, because the years-long U.S. effort to defend South Vietnam, though ultimately unsuccessful in preventing victory by North Vietnam, gave other countries in the region time and space to develop their political institutions and economies enough to deter or resist communist movements in their own countries. Valid or not, the domino theory's use as a justification links U.S. participation in the war to the goal of preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon (in this case, a communist hegemon of China and/or the Soviet Union).

5.

CRS Report R46336, COVID-19: Potential Implications for International Security Environment—Overview of Issues and Further Reading for Congress, by Ronald O'Rourke, Kathleen J. McInnis, and Michael Moodie.

6.

For more on this shift, see CRS Report R43838, Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress, by Ronald O'Rourke.

7.

CRS Report R43838, Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress, by Ronald O'Rourke.

8.

The terms offshore balancing and offshore control refer in general to a policy in which the United States, in effect, stands off the shore of Eurasia and engages in the security affairs of Eurasia less frequently, less directly, or less expansively. The term retrenchment is more often used by critics of these proposed approaches.

9.

Debate about this dimension of the U.S. role in the world is not limited to one between those who favor continued extensive engagement along the lines of the past 70 years and those who prefer some form of a more restrained role—other options are also being promoted. For example, one analyst and former White House aide advocates an approach that differs from both retrenchment and reassertion, an approach he labels "re-calibration" to the "geopolitical, economic, technological and other dynamics driving the 21st-century world." Such an approach, he argues, would entail a reappraisal of U.S. interests, a reassessment of U.S. power, and a repositioning of U.S. leadership. (See Bruce Jentleson, "Apart, Atop, Amidst: America in the World," War on the Rocks, January 2017.)

As another example, a different analyst argues in favor of a U.S. role based on "a better nationalism"—what he describes as a more benign and constructive form that "would not dismantle the post-war order and America's post war project, but would take a harder-edged and more disciplined approach to asserting U.S. interests." (Hal Brands, "U.S. Grand Strategy in an Age of Nationalism: Fortress American and it Alternatives," Washington Quarterly, Spring 2017: 73-93.)