At the end of the Cold War, there was a widely held belief that an era of rancorous foreign policy debates had been put behind us. But within a year or two foreign policy intellectuals were again going at each other full bore--over Bosnia, China, NATO expansion, human rights, trade and sundry other topics. It is fair to say that these debates have been dominated by conservatives. Typically, they have taken the form of intramural disputes between "neoconservatives" and "realists" in the pages of journals like Commentary, The Weekly Standard, National Review, First Things and The National Interest.
Given this dominance, it has been easy to overlook the fact that some interesting things have been happening on the foreign policy Left. True, with the Cold War's denouement many of its members have shifted their gaze to perceived injustices at home, while others have retreated to the academy and, as Paul Hollander has put it, "to new preoccupations like multiculturalism, identity politics, postmodernism, deconstructionism, or radical feminism." But even if somewhat marginalized, there remains a distinctive leftist critique of America's global role.
Or rather several competing leftist critiques. For just as the demise of Soviet communism dissolved the substantial foreign policy consensus on the Right, so did it sunder the Left into competing factions. From these there have emerged four distinct camps, which are of interest both in themselves and because, in a way, they help to explain the divide on the Right.
The Not-So-New Left