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Café Society: The Evolution of U.S. Foreign Policy

Since the end of the cold war, U.S. foreign policy has been defined in part by its reliance on multi-lateral institutions as agents of stability. The UN, the EU and the World Bank have all been focused, in part, on building links between disparate nations in the belief that these links will promote cooperation and reduce the temptation to settle disputes via military means.

As memories of World War II and the Iron Curtain fade, the foreign policy of the United States has moved away from this model, and focused more on the exercise of U.S. power in the pursuit of U.S. interests. In contrast, the role of these institutions in the rest of the world has never been greater. The contrast between the unilateral pursuits of the United States and the cooperative model chosen by the EU member states could not be greater.

In making their case for the war in Iraq, the current administration called on the UN to take action to enforce its resolutions against Saddam Hussein. Implying that inaction would relegate the world body to irrelevance, the United States demanded a more muscular approach to world affairs from the Security Council. Ironically, as some critics argue, many actions of the same administration have acted to undermine the UN in several critical ways.

As the 21st century continues, what role should these multilateral institutions play in the world? Should the United States revert back to the old model of legitimizing its actions through these institutions, or continue down the path of unilateralism? Join us this week to share your thoughts on the direction of the U.S.’s foreign policy.

This weeks articles:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.