For the last 25 years, the U.S. has based its foreign policy on a sense of “America First” idealism rather than restraint and realism, says William Ruger, Vice President for Research and Policy, Charles Koch Foundation. “A foreign policy of restraint isn’t going to create heaven on Earth, but neither is a policy of primacy,” says Ruger. Without U.S. intervention, it’s not as though the Middle East would be a region thriving on liberal democracy but what is certain is that the world would not have ISIS, civil wars and unrest in Syria, Libya, Mali, and Turkey, all of which were the unintended consequences of the U.S. opening Pandora’s Box with its regime change efforts in Iraq. Ruger asserts that the U.S. failed to be cognizant of the human and economic cost of international military and political intervention. In increasing instability in the world, America inadvertently compromised its own core security goals, and damaged future counter-proliferation goals with places like North Korea. “We’ve really opened up all kinds of challenges in this attempt to open up an exemplar for the Middle East. We actually have created an exemplar,” he says, “—an exemplar of what can go wrong if you engage in the world without first thinking carefully about what is necessary for American safety, and what the unintended consequences of our behavior could be…” The Charles Koch Institute aims to further understanding of how US foreign policy affects American people and societal well-being. Through grants, events, and collaborative partnerships, the institute is working to stretch the boundaries of foreign policy research and debate by discussing ideas in strategy, trade, and diplomacy that often go unheeded in the US capital. For more information, visit http://www.charleskochinstitute.org.
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