Stanley Hoffmann seems to believe that the United States cannot and really should not behave as the singular great power that it is. He offers as an alternative full American membership in “a kind of world steering committee” of various regional and global powers that would regulate their own behavior and make rules as to the permissible behavior of others. There is a sleight-of-hand in this proposal in that it equates the palpable capabilities of the United States with the capabilities of lesser states. But there are no other global powers, even though France sent its epaulets and berets into Rwanda and the Russians still serve as the putative co-conveners of the Middle East peace talks.
Hoffmann is especially concerned to strengthen the hands of the Russian government whose authority is already unclear within its own (unclear) borders. In this he agrees with Strobe Talbott: Moscow is to be propitiated at almost all costs. Let’s be concrete: this means we w...
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