Looking back at the US foreign policy discourse since the end of the Cold War, it is striking how entrenched and dominant one basic assumption has been: the idea that the United States must remain the leading power in the international system. According to this conception, the United States is and should remain the guarantor of international stability. Despite all the debates that have taken place between liberal and conservative internationalists, US foreign policy ideology is still defined by an understanding of the US as “benign hegemon”, even though the term itself is hardly used. America’s leadership is believed to be benevolent in the sense that it is in the best interests not only of the US but also of most states worldwide. Yet in the current presidential race, for the first time since America’s rise to global leadership, a candidate is running under the slogan of “America First”— an attitude that marks a significant break with the dominant hegemonic role conception.