March 22, 2007
Why should the United States cling to military alliances established during the Cold War when the circumstances are now fundamentally different? In The End of Alliances, Rajan Menon argues that our alliances in Europe and Asia have become irrelevant to the challenges we face today. The United States must be actively involved beyond its borders, but by relying on coalitions whose membership varies depending on the issue at hand. While a strategy that ceases to rely on alliances will mark a dramatic shift in American foreign policy, he reminds us that states routinely reassess and reorient their strategies. The United States, which studiously avoided alliances for much of its history only to embrace them during the Cold War, is no exception. The End of Alliances predicts that the coming change in American strategy will force our traditional allies to rethink their choices and create new patterns in world politics. The controversial argument advanced by Menon will provoke debate among foreign policy specialists and the general public.