Cracked American flag overlayed with the star remnants of a Soviet and Chinese flag competing for space in the stripe section.

Is “Progressive Realism” the Future of US Foreign Policy?

The American foreign policy tradition has been dominated by just a few ideologies over the last several decades  This includes the neoconservatism of the Ronald Regan and George W. Bush eras and the liberal internationalism of the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations. To be sure, not every foreign policy decision neatly fits into one of these categories, but its fair to say that by in large, these have been the two overriding foreign policy outlooks of the last 30 to 40 years.

Robert Wright has helped to introduce a new kind of intellectual tradition to the public square that he calls “Progressive Realism.”  The cornerstones of a progressive realist foreign policy includes both strategic restraint and robust support for international law and international institutions. He articulated this view in a recent Washington Post op-ed.

We kick off this conversation going through some of the key principals of a progressive-realist US Foreign Policy.  We then discuss how this ideology might be applied to some key foreign policy challenges, including competition with China and conflict in the middle east.

Robert Wright is the author of several books, including NonZero: The Logic of Human Destiny.  He runs a newsletter by the same name.


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