The international relations word of the week is “isolationism.” Some suggest this is a crisis of epic (read: world war) proportions. Others consider it an exaggeration. And some, such as Gordon Adams writing in FP National Security, see this era as one where “America’s not retreating–it’s just going undercover.”
Where will this approach lead? (Ask Senator Mike Lee.)
Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the NYT thinks about what isolationism means in the US, as seen in the Tea Party and anti-war movement:
Of course, 2013 is not 1940. The Middle East is not Europe. President Obama is not F.D.R. But America is again in a deep isolationist mood. As a wary Congress returns from its summer recess to debate Syria, as President Obama prepares to address the nation, it is instructive to throw the two periods up on the screen and examine them for lessons. How does a president sell foreign engagement to a public that wants none of it?