In the recent (May/June) issue of The National Interest, Dimitri K. Simes writes about the lack of a serious conversation about the direction of U.S. foreign policy. He points out that a vigorous debate about American mission in the world that followed the end of the World War II has had a profound positive effect on establishing the world peace and stability. It is therefore surprising, writes Simes, that 15 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, all major foreign policy decisions are taken without much analytical evaluation.
Simes is absolutely correct in his assertion that this is not because of the lack of knowledge accumulated by the scholars and pundits. No, this is because of the lack of interest on the part of American politicians including presidential candidates from both parties.
Gathering and analyzing facts before making sound decisions is not how American foreign policy is being conducted. The question is: what kind of foreign policy do we then have?
The answer comes in today’s New York Times report on the speech by a Russia expert David Kramer, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, that he delivered to the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs. “A bumper sticker of our Russia policy,” Mr. Kramer said, would be to “cooperate wherever we can; push back whenever we have to.”
That’s it. It’s a Bumper Sticker Foreign Policy.