Retail DiplomacyIssue: Winter 2001-2002
PERHAPS THE most widely heard and trenchant criticism of the Bush Administration's foreign policy before September 11 was that it displayed a wilful and counterproductive unilateralism. Clearly, since the terrorist attacks, that policy has changed: We're all multilateralists now, at least for the time being. Nonetheless, a tension remains: Can an administration whose vision of international leadership is defined by a go-it-alone approach whenever possible really conduct effective multilateral diplomacy? The question is not only whether the administration can keep a motley coalition together long enough to accomplish its military and political goals in the war against terrorism. We need also to ask whether it will, and whether it should, maintain a commitment to multilateralism once the present crisis passes.