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The Empty Throne and the Cult of American ‘Leadership’

Emma Ashford reviews Ivo Daalder and James Lindsey’s The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership: Meanwhile, they reject the pragmatism of Barack Obama, criticizing him for “failing to rebuild American leadership,” and repeating again the idea that Obama actually pursued a foreign policy of restraint. Obama’s policies were undoubtedly better in this regard than his predecessors, notably his realistic and hard-headed approach to Iran. But as others have pointed out here at War on the Rocks, it’s impossible to make the argument that regime change in Libya, support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, or increased deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan qualify as foreign policy restraint. In short, the authors accept hook, line, and sinker the idea of America as the indispensable nation, the leader of a magnanimous order in which “countries willing to follow America’s lead would prosper.” Their chapter on the birth of the liberal international order cites none of the recent scholarly research on its origins and realities, work which shows that conceptualizing international relations and American foreign policy in this way is profoundly ahistorical. The cult of American global “leadership” is every bit as ideological and divorced from reality as the “credibility” obsession that so…

Source: The American Conservative | The Empty Throne and the Cult of American ‘Leadership’

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The Empty Throne and the Cult of American ‘Leadership’

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