Ian Bremmer’s American Foreign Policy Quiz

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist at NYU (and numerous think tanks), has teamed up with Time to put together this quiz on what you think the proper role for the US (“America”) is in the world today. According to Bremmer, a neoconservative, there are three basic points of view with regard to the US’s role in the world: Independent, Indispensable, and Moneyball (you can read his explanation for these three types, as well as his analysis of how major presidential candidates fit into these categories, here).

I ended up being “caught between Independent and Moneyball America,” just like Rand Paul. Leave your scores in the ‘comments’ thread! Bremmer got his PhD in political science from Stanford back in 1994.

16 thoughts on “Ian Bremmer’s American Foreign Policy Quiz

  1. I got between independent and moneyball as well.

    I expected questions a bit more in depth. I.e. Would you commit troops to protect Taiwan from a PRC invasion?

    • A more in-depth quiz would have been nice, but then such a quiz probably wouldn’t have made it to the front page of Time!

      Maybe NOL should devise its own foreign policy quiz…

    • I ended up between Independent and Moneyball, but like Michelangelo, I thought the quiz itself was a bit cornball. How do you ask a question about America’s role in the Middle East but not mention ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, or Palestine by name? If you don’t, it’s unclear what the questions even mean.

      I vote for NOL’s devising its own foreign policy quiz.

    • Well Michelangelo, the people have spoken. What do you say?

      Should we build our own quiz?

  2. Moneyball as well, which like those above who are Moneyball or close, represents a mix of libertatian-constitutionalist principle with the feeling that the USA, like other countries, has to be part of a messy interactive world community where there is no simple way of pursuing liberty in the USA or internationally, certainly not through pure non-interventionist or through maximised constant intervention to solve everything everywhere.

    • A rich analysis, thanks Dr Stocker.

      What stood out to me was the fact that the two American libertarians who took the quiz (Michelangelo and I) both had ‘independent’ mixed in with our ‘moneyball’-ism. This probably has to do with the fact that our polity is – and has been for quite some time – footing the West’s military bills.

      Alliances are a good second-best option in the world right now (as Dr van de Haar has pointed out), but when are we going to start seriously looking at federation as a viable option for the West’s military rent-seeking problems?

    • Good points Brandon. On the rent seeking, I think you are broadly correct, but I would offer two qualifications. European nations/the EU often foot a lot of the bill/take on associated civilian tasks where America has taken military action, so that the US is not subsidising the defence and security needs of Europe quite as much as it might seem. So for example, in the Yugoslav breakup led to US military operations and a comparatively passive role for Europe, but a lot of the afterwork was taken on by Europe and there is no point in military intervention without work on building civil society to create long term security and stability. Going back a bit further to the first Gulf War/expulsion of Saddam from Kuwait, Germany and Japan did pay a lot towards the cost in return for not participating. Despite they got a lot of abuse in the US Congress from politicians who don’t appear to understand that their non-intervention in the Gulf owed a lot to constitutions and attitudes which the US encouraged/imposed during post-World War II occupation. Recently, though European govts have been cautious in what they say in public about the Ukraine crisis and containing Putin, there is a growth in military spending and co-operation done in fairly quiet ways largely with the aim of deterring Putin from adventurism in the Baltic states. Just one example, Germany has recently taken 100 Leopard II tanks out of retirement and work is underway for the Leopard III. Moving to the Pacific, Japan is enhancing its military and weakening constitutional restrictions on the deployment of the military (imposed by the US in the post-war Constitution) in reaction to Chinese assertiveness.

      While I think it is broadly correct that the US has been paying for a military burden which should be born by Europe and Japan, the situation is not as extreme as it often assumed in the US and as far as I can see is moving in a more balanced direction. In general while it is true that the US has a very impressive military machine with some impressive technology and officers, I think some Americans are a bit over confident about this. A lot of Americans, at least amongst those who take an interest in military kit, appear very convinced that the Abrams 2 is the best tank anywhere, I would suggest that for in military capacity for cost the Leopard II is probably better (it certainly does much better in export markets) and even in absolute terms ignoring cost, the French Leclerc (which is extremely expensive) has a good claim to be the best tank around, and the Korean K2 is another strong but very expensive candidate. The Abrams is expensive, heavy, difficult to transport and difficult to keep in sufficient fuel, though it can certainly do a very good job. A lot of Americans appear to be incapable of thinking of France as anything other than a surrender monkey joke in military terms, which is really very far from the reality, as can be seen by the very strong role that France is now taking in northwest African against violent Islamist fundamentalists. The US military may well be able to have the same military capacity for lower cost if it moves away from the Abrams II model of a tank that is expensive to run and transport as well as build.

      So broadly a correct point Brandon, but I think the situation is a bit better than is often understood in America and is moving in the right direction as Japan and Europe are getting used to the idea of taking responsibility for dealing with new threats from China, Putinist Russia and the hydra of Islamist fundamentalists.

  3. Interesting I agree about the Leopard and know about the Leclerc. I’ll have to check out the K2. My second favorite online game (World of Tanks) doesn’t have a Korean line included, it focuses mostly on European armored vehicles.

  4. Independent. Time said “You believe the US should rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving the country from within.” Ideally we should lead by example; return the rule of law domestically and foster much improved diplomatic and less violent strategies internationally. We stepped in the world mess during WWI so we have an obligation to assist. I don’t believe we should shrink from our international burden at this point but we certainly need to change how we affect change in other countries who do not share our values. But we need to prioritize cleaning up our own mess first then maybe we will get more respect internationally.

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