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Why Foreign Policy?

The two editors of this magazine are old friends who have, during the past six years, disagreed sharply over Vietnam. Now, however, that there is broad agreement that the United States must withdraw militarily from Vietnam — although the how and the when may remain in dispute we have decided to join together in an ...

The two editors of this magazine are old friends who have, during the past six years, disagreed sharply over Vietnam. Now, however, that there is broad agreement that the United States must withdraw militarily from Vietnam — although the how and the when may remain in dispute we have decided to join together in an effort to stimulate rational discussion of the new directions required in American foreign policy. We both feel that, in the light of Vietnam, the basic purposes of American foreign policy demand re-examination and redefinition. We both further feel that a new magazine, having no institutional memory, can commence this task with a keener awareness that an era in American foreign policy, which began in the late 1940’s, has ended. We at FOREIGN POLICY will probably continue to differ in our individual thinking as to the course which American foreign policy should take in the next phase, just as we differed on the wisdom, or the causes of failure, of past policies. But we all want FOREIGN POLICY to be "revisionist" in the most catholic sense of that word. We think this is a good time for new — and, we hope, more constructive controversies concerning the revision of goals, the reconsideration of means, and the reformulation of the responsibilities of the United States in a world which is rapidly reformulating itself.

At present, the nation appears to be redirecting its attention and priorities from international to domestic affairs. We believe this shift to be necessary and appropriate. It should not be taken to mean, however, that the problems of foreign policy are more scrutable, its dilemmas less perplexing, its issues less momentous. We have been warned that if we mishandle such problems as pollution and population control, human life could grind to a halt in a century or so. It is well to remember that comparable incompetence in foreign policy could achieve substantially the same result in an hour or so. In addition, those problems, such as race relations, population growth, and resource exhaustion, which today seem to be the critical domestic issues, will soon have to be confronted and dealt with on a world-wide basis.

FOREIGN POLICY will focus on the American role in world affairs. It will not be a journal directed primarily to matters of theoretical and academic interest. Rather it will deal with issues which in one form or another confront policymakers. Our goal is a journal of foreign policy which is serious but not scholarly, lively but not glib, and critical without being negative. And we frankly hope that the discussions of these issues in our pages will affect the actions, or at least the thinking, of those in government, academia, business or elsewhere who shape our foreign policy.

Samuel P. Huntington

Warren Demian Manshel

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