Republican Prudence

Four basic principles defined the Founders’ foreign policy. We need to re-learn them.

Appeared in: Volume 9, Number 5 | Published on: April 20, 2014
Paul Carrese is a professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs; the views expressed here are his alone, and not of any agency of the U.S. Government. Michael Doran is the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Senior Director on the National Security Council staff of the George W. Bush Administration. A version of this essay was commissioned for a book, What Makes for A Thriving Society?, edited by Luis Tellez and Harold James, forthcoming.
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  • One of the most important articles on US foreign policy- and US politics and heritage in general- I’ve read in a long, long time.

  • Also, Paul Carrese, one of the authors, apparently conducts lectures at the Air Force Academy like this:

  • Arkeygeezer

    I think that America today, would rather have good health care, than good warfare.

  • These principles would not only benefit foreign policy, but also domestic policy. Washington’s words against factions are particularly resonant. I can’t really imagine a modern American president being willing to put the will of the entire American people above the politics of their party, but if it came I would imagine both foreign and domestic policy would notice a marked improvement.

    Maybe what’s needed first is another Washington, whose allegiance was undoubtedly to the American nation rather than party politics. Until then, I’m not sure how these principles will come to be established.

  • mc

    This is a fine argument but betrays a peculiarly American optimism in its assumption that our policy makers are capable of understanding the world and shaping its development. I fear that our wealthiest universities got out of the serious education game a generation ago. Our bureaucracies are so tripped up in their own process obsessions they cannot make good what our colleges have corrupted. The most dangerous diplomacy of all is one that is not conscious of national weaknesses. As this vulnerability is unprecedented in American history the wisdom of the founders may be less applicable to the present moment than ever before.

  • Anthony

    Two signal points: “balance between forward engagement and restraint” (definitely easier said than accomplished) and “take up the hard work of learning about and debating difficult issues…In foreign policy, as in all aspects of political life, neither the experts nor the public have a monopoly on insight” (definitely words to the wise).

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