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American Diplomacy
We devote our Commentary department in this issue to what we believe is the major foreign policy question facing the United States at the dawn of the new century: whether—and how—this nation will maintain its role of leadership in world affairs in the face of shrinking budgetary resources and diminishing diplomatic “readiness.” To help focus our thinking about this question, we offer a probing analysis (and serious warning) by a career U.S. ambassador and former State Department inspector general, and we earnestly invite our readers to join in the discussion by sending us their comments by email.

“Diplomacy will continue to be central to achieving United States purposes in the twenty-first century. But the quality of American national leadership will be the most important single factor, as it was in 1950. Superb leadership at the middle of the twentieth century equipped the United States for a long, arduous, and ultimately victorious struggle in the Cold War. With the turn of the century, American leadership in international matters is less certain. The United States is not fully exerting the role it could and should exert—in its own self-interest and in the world’s interest.” [FULL TEXT]

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