Most of the time presidents don’t pick the foreign policy issues they want to tackle — the issues choose them.
America remains the world’s pre-eminent power. This means that whenever something happens somewhere in the world, the expectation is that the United States will be part of the policy solution. When presidents are reluctant to intervene, they are attacked by domestic and foreign adversaries as being weak, passive or “leading from behind.”
It’s precisely because presidents have so much more leeway to do what they want in the global realm that I now vote based on foreign policy. Mistakes in international affairs can lead to incalculable losses in blood and treasure. Paradoxically, if Americans suddenly started to vote based on national security issues, presidents would have to start to care about the domestic political consequences of their overseas actions.
Who knows, they might just start redirecting their efforts to problems at home.
foreign policy still matters, a lot (still)
I've been saying this for years. Where is my NYT column, huh?