Is the US Pulling Back from the World?
Clearly not, as Steve Saideman rightly notes:
Yes, the US is leaving Afghanistan, but will have a residual force if the Afghans get resolve their election dispute. Yes, the US has reduced its presence in Europe, closing some bases and bringing tanks back home.
So, is that heaps of disengagement? Or is this mostly a return to the status quo of 2000. Except for the US forces in Europe, it is mostly returning to situation normal. It might feel as if the norm is that the US is perpetually at war all over the world, but that is actually not the case. The US has been engaged and involved around the world since World War II, and most of the changes are about changes in focus and not a reduction of engagement.
Not to mention:
The defense budget is still far higher than anyone else’s and higher than many others combined. The US still has 10 or 19 aircraft carriers (depending on how you count), which is about 9/18 more than any other country. The US is buying a new fleet of attack subs, it is buying more planes, and on and on.
Its diplomats are under-funded as always, but the US has not cut back on the number of embassies in the world (whereas Canada/UK are thinking of sharing space). The US is engaged in negotiations over the Mideast (which take place and fail on a regular basis), over Iran’s nuclear program, over trade, and on and on.
The whole piece is worth a read.
I am with Steve—the ongoing statements about US withdrawal from the world (or retrenchment, isolationism, etc.) simply makes no sense if one engages in even a basic perusal of the facts.