... a scholarly book, albeit written by a scholar keen to influence the formulation of basic policy ... Kupchan correctly identifies America’s entry into World War II as a turning point. Yet describing its new grand strategy as liberal internationalism involves oversimplifications on a par with labeling what went before as isolationism ... Since 9/11, according to Kupchan, the United States has pursued 'a grand strategy of inconstancy and insolvency.' I leave it to others to determine if the combined efforts of the Bush 43, Obama and Trump administrations qualify as a strategy. That inconstancy and insolvency have resulted I have no doubt. Nor do I question the imperative of changing course ... As a corrective, Kupchan sensibly advocates a 'middle ground between running the world and running away from it.' But what is to be gained by identifying that middle ground as a variant of isolationism? Why not instead argue for policies based on realism and restraint, pragmatism and prudence?
... erudite and evenhanded ... [Kupchan] marshals a wealth of evidence to support his arguments and ranges confidently across more than 200 years of American history. Policy makers and foreign affairs scholars will want to take note.
Histories of ideas are often boring, but Kupchan writes well and only occasionally falls into the academic mode, mostly when he delivers an opinion and then follows it with a quote from another scholar who backs him up ... Astute political history.