When the Obama administration releases its new national security strategy Thursday, it is sure to spark a sharp debate, for the plan is grounded in core progressive foreign policy principles that stand in sharp contrast to mainstream conservative doctrine.
Today, conservatives talk about an outdated conception of power — saying that to be safe, the United States must dominate the world. Stuck in a 19th-century mindset, many conservatives view international rules and institutions as an entangling web of interdependence designed to constrain U.S. freedom of action.
Conservatives are pessimistic that other countries will pull their weight or skeptical that their consent is worth the trouble it would take to persuade them. From this perspective, Washington must alone assume responsibility for global security.