Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

America Needs the Muhammad Ali Doctrine

| Aug. 24, 2018

When in doubt, Washington's foreign-policy strategy should be to rope-a-dope.

It's tempting to spend all one's time commenting on the acrid stench emanating from the Trump administration—which increasingly seems like something out of a Carl Hiaasen novel—but I'm going to resist the urge and focus on grand strategy instead. Last week, I wrote about the foreign-policy elite's tendency to view influence as an end in itself, instead of seeing it simply as a means to accomplish some desired state of affairs. This week, I want to suggest that giving up influence and sticking somebody else with a costly burden can sometimes be the epitome of strategic wisdom.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M.“America Needs the Muhammad Ali Doctrine.” Foreign Policy, August 24, 2018.

The Author

Stephen Walt