In the eyes of the DC foreign policy establishment, issuing threats without any intention to back them up with action is a cardinal sin. Bluffing, the thinking along think tank row goes, dangerously undermines U.S. credibility abroad. As Vice President Joe Biden succinctly put it, “big powers don’t bluff.” While this pillar of presidential policymaking is often presented as a truism, it is not as uncontroversial as it may seem.
Andrew Kenealy is a research assistant at the Brookings Institution where he focuses on issues of historical progress. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government. In addition to his work at Brookings, Andrew coaches the Woodrow Wilson High School varsity girls rowing team in Washington, DC.
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