The End of a Pax Americana?


For the past seventy or so years, the United States of America has been the bastion of freedom and democracy, shining the light of its noble ideals around the world and championing those ideals whenever they came under threat. Since the end of the Cold War, American political leaders and policymakers have unashamedly championed U.S. global leadership – from Asia and Europe to the Persian Gulf. However, a few libertarians and classical liberals warned an ambitious foreign policy inspired by vision and sense of mission was fraught with the danger of unintended consequences. It would also represent the kind of foreign policy that has been instrumental in building up the power of states throughout history.

CIS’s scholar in residence for 2020, Doug Bandow, is one of those critics — opposing various U.S. ventures, most notably the US-led wars on terror after September 11, 2001. But the circumstances are changing. In the Trump and Bernie Sanders era, calls for abandoning America’s ambitions of global pre-eminence are growing. If these views prevail, what are the consequences for long-standing U.S. treaty allies, such as Australia?

Doug Bandow is CIS scholar in residence in 2020, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington and a former special assistant to president Ronald Reagan.


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