Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Don't Knock Offshore Balancing Until You've Tried It

| December 8, 2016

Whatever you want to call the Obama foreign policy, it has not been a calculated attempt to contain the rise of hegemonic threats.

If one thing puts defenders of the failed policy of liberal hegemony in a lather and ultimately leads them to say careless things, it is any suggestion that the United States (or the world) might be better off if Washington adopted a more selective or restrained grand strategy, such as offshore balancing. Case in point: Peter Feaver's recent claim here in Foreign Policy that President Barack Obama "shifted decisively toward an offshore balancing strategy in 2012" and that this shift was responsible for the rise of the Islamic State and all sorts of other bad things that have recently occurred in the Middle East. In short, he would like to convince readers that offshore balancing has been tried and found wanting, in order to persuade them that the United States should keep repeating the same misguided policies of earlier administrations....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M..“Don't Knock Offshore Balancing Until You've Tried It.” Foreign Policy, December 8, 2016.

The Author

Stephen Walt