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The limits on US unilateralism

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser when he was US president, spoke to Euromoney's Global Borrowers and Investors forum in June. In this edited version of his address, he analyzes the complexities of the Bush administration's fragmented foreign policy and the constraints on its freedom of action.

Brzezinski discusses US foreign policy

THERE IS A paradox regarding America's standing in the world that bears on American foreign policy after Iraq. The global credibility of American military power has never been higher. It's unprecedented. The US is the only country in the world that can conduct major military operations anywhere in a relatively short period of time and to do so quite decisively. At the same time, however, the global political credibility of the US has never been lower.

There have been times in the past half century when American foreign policy was very much under assault internationally - for example, during the creation of Nato in the 1950s and during the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and the early 1970s. But in those times the onslaughts on American foreign policy tended to originate from the left. By and large, the centre and the right were more sympathetic. Today, across the board, with the exception, perhaps, of one or two countries, three at most, American foreign policy is held in rather low regard throughout the world. That's a very serious development and one that has a bearing on US foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

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