Academic journal article Military Review

The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

Academic journal article Military Review

The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War

Article excerpt

THE RELUCTANT SHERIFF: The United States After the Cold War by Richard N. Haass. 148 pages. The Council on Foreign Relations. Distributed by Brookings Institute Press, Washington, DC. 1997. $34.95.

The end of the Cold War has left both theorists and practitioners of foreign policy groping for a new paradigm to govern US foreign policy. Richard N. Haass, both a theorist and practitioner, has provided a useful guide for the conduct of foreign policy in an era of what he calls "deregulation." In a world no longer "regulated" by superpower rivalry, the United States should seek to act as "sheriff." It should serve as the leader of a "posse" of likeminded states to regulate the peaceful settlement of disputes or take military action against an aggressor while retaining the capability to act unilaterally when necessary. Composition of the posse would vary in accordance with the crisis at hand.

This doctrine of regulation would concentrate on the external actions of nations. It would seek to ensure nations act in accordance with the rule of law and standards of conduct the United States endorses. The United States would act, preferably in concert with others, to shape the behavior and capabilities of states to provide the necessary stability for political, economic and social development.

Underlying Haass' paradigm is the belief that an active foreign policy need not be prohibitively expensive. As sheriff, the goal of US policy would be to encourage the development of international institutions that could share the burdens of regulating international relations. …

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