Democracy Paradox
Democracy Paradox
Aug 17, 2021
Charles Kupchan on America's Tradition of Isolationism
Play • 51 min

Beginning in the 1990s, and then really picking up after 9/11, the United States overreached ideologically by thinking it could turn Iraq and Afghanistan into Ohio. It overreached economically by throwing open the nation's doors and saying the more trade, the better. And suddenly, I think, Americans said to themselves and to their leaders, ‘Wait a minute. Too much world, not enough America.'

Charles Kupchan

A full transcript is available at or a brief primer on Isolationism here.

Charles Kupchan is a professor of international relations at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also the author of Isolationism: A History of America's Efforts to Shield Itself from the World.

Key Highlights Include

  • Isolationism's Place in America's National Identity
  • The Relationship Between Isolationism and American Exceptionalism
  • A Brief History of Isolationism in the United States
  • Similarities Between the Rise of China and the Early United States
  • Donald Trump and the Reemergence of Isolationism

Key Links

Isolationism: A History of America's Efforts to Shield Itself from the World by Charles Kupchan

Learn more about Charles Kupchan

"The Home Front: Why an Internationalist Foreign Policy Needs a Stronger Domestic Foundation" an article by Charles Kupchan in Foreign Affairs

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