On December 17, Foreign Policy published a biweekly column featuring Scowcroft Center deputy director Matthew Kroenig and New American Engagement Initiative senior fellow Emma Ashford assessing the latest news in international affairs.

In their last column of 2021, they reflect on major foreign policy events that shaped the year, debate the limits of US power and leadership, and question whether 2022 will bring heightened crises, from Ukraine, to Taiwan, to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

2021 was actually a pretty awful year for U.S. foreign policy. There were lots of big shifts around the world, and a growing feeling that the United States isn’t well-placed to respond to any of them. Just look at the Iran nuclear negotiations… or consider Washington’s complete inability to work with other countries on trade issues.

Emma Ashford

The record is certainly mixed, but I am more optimistic… you are right that the United States is not and has never been omnipotent. But the United States is still the single-most influential country in the world, and its leadership is still required to solve most global challenges. After all, a major complaint from U.S. allies and partners this year… is that they want more, not less, involvement from Washington.

Matthew Kroenig

Related Experts: Matthew Kroenig and Emma Ashford