A Sit-Down with Brent Scowcroft

The principles of transformationalism—idealism spread by the barrel of a gun—have been central to America’s foreign-policy failings over the last eight years. With a new leadership in power, Washington has a chance to right past wrongs. But that w

Issue: Jan-Feb 2009

TNI's editor Justine A. Rosenthal talks with the General about the tasks ahead and advice to be heeded by the incoming Obama administration.

 

What are the acute foreign-policy problems Barack Obama will face as he takes office?

The tasks ahead are enormous. The situations we face in the Middle East, Central and South Asia are at the heart of our most acute problems. By going into Iraq and Afghanistan with a transformationalist agenda, we have brought long-standing problems of the region to a boiling point. Whether it is a Shia, Sunni, Palestinian, Israeli, Persian or Arab issue, they all form one big mare's nest, and they all feed off one another. The question is how the new administration will deal with these diverse issues. We can only hope that, at least for a time, America has had enough of transforming the world.

 

What would a more realist-driven approach look like?

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