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Soldiers of the First Armored Division at the U.S. Army Airfield in Wiesbaden, Germany Soldiers of the First Armored Division at the U.S. Army Airfield in Wiesbaden, Germany, May 13, 2011 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

Restraint and the Future of American Power

Friday, June 4, 2021
Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which uses relevant WPR coverage to provide background and context to the week’s top stories. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.

This week, the story I followed most closely wasn’t a breaking news item or global development, but an important debate taking place in Washington these days over whether or not restraint should serve as the guiding framework for U.S. foreign policy.

The concept of restraint grew out of the academic school of international relations known as realism, which focuses on national interests and power dynamics as the drivers of international affairs—and the foundation on which a sound foreign policy should be based. It has historically faced off against idealism, which embraces an international order governed by norms and places values like democracy and human rights at the center of America’s foreign policy. ...

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