American Foreign Policy in Transition: From Cold War Consensus to Controversy and Confusion

In a new article for Contemporary American Review, Shorenstein APARC Distinguished Fellow Thomas Fingar examines how, twenty-five years after the demise of the Soviet Union, Americans are still struggling to understand and adjust to the costs and consequences of success. Since 1991, diplomats, military professionals, and others showed an inclination towards the same approach to international affairs that brought success in the Cold War. The result was a foreign policy both stable and predictable. Under the Trump administration, however, this no longer appears to be the case.

For much of the world, and for many in the U.S., recents changes are unsettling. Some hope that U.S. foreign policy will soon return to the status quo; others believe the present to simply be indicative of an inescapabe decline in U.S. leadership. Professor Fingar argues that American foreign policy will once again become stable and predictable, but that it will not "simply revert to the policies of a now byone era."