Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives

Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives

Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives

Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives

Synopsis

The authors explore international reactions to U. S. conduct in world affairs.

Excerpt

Apart from traditional diplomatic channels, the process of making U.S. foreign policy is remarkably insulated from international perspectives. Although the United States develops its policies partly in response to global events, the U.S. foreign policy community tends to give short shrift to the ideas and opinions of international observers. Foreign attitudes are often overlooked, ignored, or dismissed rather than being integrated into U.S. conversations about the country’s global engagement. It is a rarity, for example, for a foreign leader to address Congress. Thanks to weak international coverage by the media—which tends to focus on criticism from European public intellectuals or dramatic denunciations from implacable U.S. foes—the U.S. public has only limited access to the views of nonAmericans about the U.S. role in the world.

This book makes the case that U.S. foreign policy must be informed by a deeper appreciation of the way the United States is perceived abroad, arguing that unilateralism undercuts U.S. national interests. Given the scale of U.S. dominance in the early twenty-first century, other countries are increasingly sensitive to the manner in which the country uses its massive power. At the same time, the U.S. foreign policy agenda is being transformed by a wide range of challenges that cannot be addressed successfully by any single state, no matter how powerful. Given these trends, vigorous support for multilateral cooperation offers the firmest foundation for U.S. engagement.

This book is the second in a series on multilateralism and U.S. foreign policy sponsored by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. The center was founded in 1996 to conduct policy research and international consultations on the political, financial, and organizational factors that impede or advance the effective use of multilateral means to resolve pressing global problems. The first in this series, Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement, edited by Stewart Patrick and Shepard Forman (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), examined the costs . . .

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