The Art of the Possible

When a U.S. administration announces unrealistic foreign-policy goals, it sets itself up for failure. Today, we confront a very different international landscape, and the heady days of 2003 permanently belong to the past.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2007

AMERICAN FOREIGN policy confronts a basic paradox. The United States stands alone as the world's most powerful nation, with the strongest military, the largest economy, the highest level of technological capacity and the most extensive cultural influence around the world. Even after the setbacks of recent years, no other single power or grouping of states comes close to matching the United States. And yet America's ability to accomplish things abroad has rarely-in recent memory-seemed so limited. Why?

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