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In my last column, I explored the various reasons why states can become overcommitted yet unable to extricate themselves from costly endeavors that are no longer worth the effort. This phenomenon is a serious problem—as anyone who follows U.S. foreign policy knows—but the opposite tendency can be problematic, too. Specifically, sometimes powerful states can get in trouble if they are too eager to avoid commitments, only to discover that events elsewhere have evolved in dangerous ways.


Walt, Stephen. "Why Some Countries Are Pathologically Shy." Foreign Policy, February 7, 2019.