In 1998, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show: “If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.” Albright’s view was anything but unique to her or to the Clinton administration. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a strong bipartisan consensus in favor of frequent American military intervention has reigned in Washington. Even President Obama, who came into office calling for greater restraint than his predecessor, expanded the “war on terror,” engaged in regime change in Libya, and extended the mission in Afghanistan – America’s longest war. Facing vocal critics who seek to increase American intervention not just in the Middle East but also in conflicts throughout the world, Obama was unable to implement many of the more restrained policies he advocated.
The American public, however, is far less supportive of an interventionist foreign policy agenda than political elites.
Read my latest at War on the Rocks to find out what that means.