The Case Against Restraint

The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups sail together in formation, in the South China Sea, July 6, 2020 (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton for U.S. Navy via AP Images).
The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups sail together in formation, in the South China Sea, July 6, 2020 (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton for U.S. Navy via AP Images).
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Over the past decade or so, a school of thought known as “restraint” has been steadily gaining currency in the U.S. foreign policy establishment. While the idea encompasses a wide range of views and assumptions, proponents of restraint generally argue that in the wake of the Cold War, America overcommitted to its global responsibilities and stretched itself too thin, undertaking ill-conceived and costly military adventures while underwriting the security of allies in Europe and East Asia at a time when the strategic rationale of those alliances was hard to justify. The so-called restrainers have been increasingly visible lately in media […]

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