The Myth of Isolationist America

In recent years, international observers have increasingly asked whether the age of US global leadership is over. But the question reflects a failure to distinguish between isolationism and a smart strategy that begins with a clear assessment of limits.

CAMBRIDGE – Is the United States turning inward and becoming isolationist? That question was posed to me by a number of financial and political leaders at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, and was heard again a few days later at the annual Munich Security Conference. In a strong speech at Davos, Secretary of State John Kerry gave an unambiguous answer: “Far from disengaging, America is proud to be more engaged than ever.” Yet the question lingered.