Ethics & International Affairs Volume 10 (1996): Articles: America and the World: Isolationism Resurgent? [Abstract]

Dec 4, 1996

Building on an earlier argument that isolationism may well be America's natural state, Schlesinger explains how the apparent rejection of isolationism during the long standoff with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was nothing more than a reaction to what was perceived as a direct and urgent threat to the security of the United States. In the wake of the Cold War's end, the incompatibility between collective international action and conceptions of national interest has highlighted the difficulties of democracies in sending their armies to war, especially those that do not directly threaten national security. While much more can and should be done to enhance the effectiveness of global organizations already in place, what is needed, Schlesinger argues, is both a reexamination of the Wilsonian doctrine of collective security and a greater concentration on preventive diplomacy.

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