America in Retreat

America in Retreat

The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder

Book - 2014
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'A world in which the leading liberal-democratic nation does not assume its role as world policeman will become a world in which dictatorships contend, or unite, to fill the breach. Americans seeking a return to an isolationist garden of Eden - alone and undisturbed in the world, knowing neither good nor evil - will soon find themselves living within shooting range of global pandemonium.' - From the Introduction

In a brilliant book that will elevate foreign policy in the national conversation, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens makes a powerful case for American intervention abroad.

In December 2011 the last American soldier left Iraq. 'We're leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,' boasted President Obama. He was proved devastatingly wrong less than three years later as jihadists seized the Iraqi city of Mosul. The event cast another dark shadow over the future of global order - a shadow, which, Bret Stephens argues, we ignore at our peril.

America in Retreat identifies a profound crisis on the global horizon. As Americans seek to withdraw from the world to tend to domestic problems, America's adversaries spy opportunity. Vladimir Putin's ambitions to restore the glory of the czarist empire go effectively unchecked, as do China's attempts to expand its maritime claims in the South China Sea, as do Iran's efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Civil war in Syria displaces millions throughout the Middle East while turbocharging the forces of radical Islam. Long-time allies such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, doubting the credibility of American security guarantees, are tempted to freelance their foreign policy, irrespective of U.S. interests.

Deploying his characteristic stylistic flair and intellectual prowess, Stephens argues for American reengagement abroad. He explains how military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was the right course of action, foolishly executed. He traces the intellectual continuity between anti-interventionist statesmen such as Henry Wallace and Robert Taft in the late 1940s and Barack Obama and Rand Paul today. And he makes an unapologetic case for Pax Americana, 'a world in which English is the default language of business, diplomacy, tourism, and technology; in which markets are global, capital is mobile, and trade is increasingly free; in which values of openness and tolerance are, when not the norm, often the aspiration.'

In a terrifying chapter imagining the world of 2019, Stephens shows what could lie in store if Americans continue on their current course. Yet we are not doomed to this future. Stephens makes a passionate rejoinder to those who argue that America is in decline, a process that is often beyond the reach of political cures. Instead, we are in retreat - the result of faulty, but reversible, policy choices. By embracing its historic responsibility as the world's policeman, America can safeguard not only greater peace in the world but also greater prosperity at home.

At once lively and sobering, America in Retreat offers trenchant analysis of the gravest threat to global order, from a rising star of political commentary.

'Wise counsel for a constructive, tough-minded, and sensible foreign policy. Read and learn.' George Shultz, U.S. Secretary of State, 1982 - 1989

'At a time when the president of the United States explicitly renounces the role of 'global policeman' and a remarkable proportion of Americans - conservatives and liberals alike - seem irresistibly drawn to isolationism in all but name, Bret Stephens has written a shrewd, sharp, and shamelessly unfashionable defense of American power as a force for good in the world. He makes it clear why now, even more than in the past, the supposed benefits of Uncle Sam's retreat will swiftly be eclipsed by the very real costs of advancing terroris

Publisher: New York, New York :, Sentinel,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781591846628
Characteristics: xvi, 269 pages


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Apr 23, 2018

It's difficult to wade through 300+ pages of analysis as to why "everybody, everywhere, is always wrong about everything." Add a barrage of shameless quote-dropping and you have an almost unreadable book.

Jun 19, 2017

“Bret Stephens Is Why Liberals Have Every Right to Be Dicks – What the hell is The New York Times doing employing a climate-denying goon?”
by Drew Magary, Posted May 3, 2017, at GQ
“The New York Times should not have hired climate change bullshitter Bret Stephens – It’s time for the opinion page to take climate change as seriously as the paper’s reporters do.”
by David Roberts, posted May 1, 2017, at Vox
“How a scheme to discredit climate science spread from conservative media to the EPA chief
Scott Pruitt has embraced the “red team/blue team” idea that got exposure from Daily Caller and WSJ”
by Kevin Kalhoefer, posted June 2, 2017, at Media Maters For America
“Your weekend hate read is this ridiculously dumb New York Times op-ed”
by Jason Abbruzzese, posted April 2017, at Mashable

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