International Monetary Fund

Should the U.S. still carry a ‘big stick’?

Should the U.S. still carry a ‘big stick’?

To the extent that President-elect Donald Trump has articulated a coherent view of foreign affairs, it appears to be that the United States needs to reject most policies of the post-1945 period. NATO is a bad bargain; nuclear proliferation is a good thing; Russian President Vladimir Putin is an admirable fellow; great deals that advantage only us should replace free trade.

In his unique way, Trump is forcing a question that probably should have been up for debate 25 years ago: Should the United States stay a global power that maintains world order — including by force of arms, what Theodore Roosevelt famously called “the big stick”?

Curiously, the death of...