America On The Sidelines

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The United States is becoming a picky eater when it comes to foreign policy. Back to the kitchen have gone international agreements on global warming, missile defense, and biological warfare, among others.

The Bush administration calls this “a la carte multilateralism.” We’re ordering what we want, when we want it, to satisfy American appetites and interests. It’s the lonely right of a superpower, or the dangerous game of a bully.

The White House argues that thinking globally means more than diplomatic signing on the dotted line. For this President Bush’s critics at home and abroad have dubbed him a Texas two-steppin’ isolationist and “Mr. Nyet,” a nickname once reserved for a Soviet diplomat famous for saying ‘no.’


Ruth Wedgwood, professor of international law at Yale University;
Stephen Walt, professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s JFK School of Government;
Francois Heisbourg, Foundation pour Researche Strategique