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A nation must think before it acts.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, American foreign policy thinkers have been striving to define a role for the United States in the post-cold war world. Their proposals have ranged from “strategic independence” on the isolationist pole to “assertive multilateralism” and “benevolent hegemony” on the interventionist pole. The sheer volume of labels and taxonomies, far from suggesting a wealth of ideas, is clear evidence of what Jonathan Clarke dubbed America’s “conceptual poverty.”