Shifrinson Co-Authors Article on President Biden’s “Pragmatic Realism”
Joshua Shifrinson, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published an article in Foreign Affairs in which he discusses President Joe Biden’s foreign policy strategy and how his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan rejects liberal internationalism.
The article, titled “Biden the Realist,” was co-authored by Shifrinson and Stephen Wertheim, a Senior Fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Center for Global Legal Challenges at Yale Law School. In the article, Shifrinson and Wertheim discuss Biden’s apparent view on the limits of the United States’ foreign nation-building and military power. From his opposition to the Gulf War to his support of NATO enlargement as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and ultimately his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the authors argue that Biden has maintained an outlook that puts U.S. national security above all other considerations even in the face of new conditions and stubborn realities.
Although his predecessor, Donald Trump, gave voice to similar impulses, it is Biden who offers a more coherent version of pragmatic realism—a mode of thought that prizes the advancement of tangible U.S. interests, expects other states to follow their own interests, and changes course to get what the United States needs in a competitive world. If Biden continues to apply this vision, he will deliver a welcome change from decades of overassertive U.S. foreign policy that has squandered lives and resources in pursuit of unachievable goals.
The full article can be read on Foreign Affairs‘ website.
Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson is an Associate Professor at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, where his teaching and research interests focus on the intersection of international security and diplomatic history, particularly the rise and fall of great powers and the origins of grand strategy. His work has appeared with International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Foreign Affairs, and other venues. Read more about Professor Shifrinson on his faculty profile.