Will the U.S. emerge as a world leader again?

Posted Feb. 23, 2009, at 5:01 p.m.

Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, told those attending last weekend’s Camden Conference that the U.S. should again take the lead in world affairs. Is this a worthy goal, given the state of the economy? Should the U.S. give in to isolationism, and disentangle from hot spots like the Middle East? Or should it take a strong position in such regions, setting a consistent tone for what sort of human rights and military actions are acceptable? Does the U.S. have to worry about political instability from the poor global economy, or should troubled nations be left to their own problems?