If Biden is elected, the question he will face is not whether to restore the liberal international order. It is whether the US can work with an inner core of allies to promote democracy and human rights.
CAMBRIDGE – Many Americans say they want a moral foreign policy, but disagree on what that means. Using a three-dimensional scorecard encourages us to avoid simplistic answers and to look at the motives, means, and consequences of a US president’s actions.
Consider, for example, the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes. When people call for a “Reaganite foreign policy,” they mean to highlight the clarity of his rhetoric in the presentation of values. Clearly stated objectives helped educate and motivate the public at home and abroad.
CAMBRIDGE – When I told a friend I had just written a book on morality and foreign policy, she quipped: “It must be a very short book.” Such skepticism is common. An Internet search shows surprisingly few books on how US presidents’ moral views affected their foreign policies. As the eminent political theorist Michael Walzer once described American graduate training in international relations after 1945, “Moral argument was against the rules of the discipline as it was commonly practiced.”