Five years after the attacks of September 11, G. John Ikenberry argues that America’s problems maneuvering abroad aren’t just the product of President George W. Bush’s bungling, but of a deeper “security trap”—and offers a way to
escape it. Joseph Nye, Jr.—the father of “soft power”—revisits his theory and argues that what’s needed is not solely hard or soft power, but “smart power.”
Joining Ikenberry and Nye in the critical debate about a progressive foreign policy in the post-9/11 age are two articles in our new, regular “Responses” section: Peter Beinart answering Michael Lind’s review of his book The Good Fight, and Anatol Lieven critiquing Michael Signer’s (and other progressive thinkers’) idealist vision of America’s role in the world. Zeroing in on two critical regions of the world, Nazneen Barma and Ely Ratner lay out the ideological challenge that China presents the West, and Dennis Ross assesses the Middle East post- Ariel Sharon and in light of this summer’s conflicts.
On the domestic front, Karen Kornbluh puts forward a new approach to social insurance that responds to the contemporary realities of the American family and work life, and Joel Kotkin charts a path for reinvigorating American
cities as the engines of middle-class mobility. William Galston makes the case for the centrality of freedom in progressive thought; James Galbraith looks at how democracy takes root; and Theda Skocpol explores whether a program like the G.I. Bill—which did so much to invigorate and broaden American democracy—can ever happen again.