Liberal Interventionism R.I.P.

LSE IDEAS Transatlantia Blog (2010)

While conducting fieldwork in Washington DC this summer, I was struck by the many complaints about President Obama’s lack of interest in pursuing liberal values abroad. “Those working in the ‘democracy sector’, haven’t seen many resources coming their way from this administration”, one critic told me in private. Others quibbled about Obama’s deafening silence on international human rights issues. Let alone the tsunami of TV commentators debating whether the President was keener on allegedly importing European-style big-government socialism rather than promoting, at home and abroad, America’s entrepreneurial spirit and free-market ethos. Wondering whether these narrow policy complains reflected broader shifts in American strategic thinking, I turned to Obama’s newly released (May 2010) National Security Strategy (NSS) in search for clues...