A Changing World Order Whose Outcome is Still Unclear
Not often do changes in political preferences and outlook in a single country trigger a changing world order. The breakdown of the 70-year-old domestic consensus on foreign policy in the United States is one such case. The outcome of this revolution is still unclear. Amazingly, Europeans continue to assess the fallout from America's domestic battle between nationalists and global institutionalists. In the United States as elsewhere, foreign policy choices are informed by immovable or relatively stable factors like geography, economy, political system, and regional identity. This is not to say that Americans have always agreed on foreign policy. Far from it. The continental size of the republic and its settlement structure have created a patchwork of regions, each with its own prevailing values and preferred policies. The settlers hailed from distinct European countries and brought with them separate religious, political, and economic traits. Even waves of new immigrants did not fundamentally alter these cultures, as newcomers integrated into the existing political milieus. To this day, the Appalachian region is characterized by what analysts call "a warrior ethic," while New York is a globalized trading center with an insistence on the values of tolerance and diversity. Quite obviously, foreign policy preferences can differ significantly between the majorities in these as well as other regions.