Unilateral vs. Multilateral Engagement: A Scenario-Based Approach to Guiding America's Future Foreign Policy
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The United States in recent years has demonstrated a preference for unilateral engagement that has undermined its long-term interests. Specifically, since the 911 terror attacks, the US has employed its unchallenged power and the freedom of action afforded by a unilateral engagement policy to attain national interests rather than constrain its actions to the rules and impediments of multilateral cooperation. This strategy has evoked hostility toward the US and eroded the USs international legitimacy. The situation suggests that unilateral engagement is inadequate in the new foreign policy context and that an alternative policy must be employed by future US leaders to secure Americas future. As President Obamas administration takes office America carries the cost of preceding unilateral foreign policy. The time is right to reexamine Americas foreign policy strategy to chart a course of action that will best assure the future interests of the US and its allies. This research argues that a multilateral engagement foreign policy will ensure national security is protected and Americas global leadership maintained regardless of future changes in the international system. Analysis of alternative futures by means of the scenario-planning process suggests multilateral engagement provides an attractive course for securing national security and maintaining Americas global leadership.
- Government and Political Science