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Global Reboot

Should the United States Step Up or Back Off?

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Shifting global alignments pose a quandary for U.S. foreign policy.

For much of the 20th century, the United States has toggled between two foreign-policy impulses: to actively insert itself in the affairs of the world or to hang back and focus on its own domestic issues. Advocates of the two approaches to international relations have had various designations, including liberals and realists, or interventionists and isolationists.

But these days, the world is shifting more dramatically than in decades, with the rise of China as a political and economic power and the increasing belligerence of Russia toward its neighbors. With those changes underway, is that old dichotomy still relevant? And what is America’s proper role in the world? 

FP editor in chief Ravi Agrawal sat down recently with political scientist Stephen Wertheim to discuss these very questions. Wertheim, a senior fellow at the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has written about the issue extensively, including in the pages of Foreign Policy

Doha Forum - GCSCWe’re featuring their conversation in the last episode of our podcast, Global Reboot. The show is produced by Foreign Policy in partnership with the Doha Forum.

About Global Reboot:  Global Reboot explores how to rebuild a world upended by disruptive international events. FPs editor in chief Ravi Agrawal engages with world leaders and policy experts to identify solutions to our greatest challenges. Global Reboot is a FP Partner Podcast with the Doha Forum.  See All Episodes

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More Global Reboot episodes:

Is the International Monetary Fund Still Relevant?

The world’s multilateral institutions were created nearly seven decades ago. They need rethinking.

Human Rights Are in Decline Around the World. What Can Be Done About it?

Even wealthier countries are regressing.

The Democracy Deficit

What accounts for the backslide, and how can it be reversed?

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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The Negotiators

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 29: US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and EU Commissioner in charge of financial services, financial stability and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness (not seen) hold a joint news conference in Brussels, Belgium on March 29, 2022. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 29: US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and EU Commissioner in charge of financial services, financial stability and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness (not seen) hold a joint news conference in Brussels, Belgium on March 29, 2022. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Wally Adeyemo Confronts a Challenging Economic Moment

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