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Ideas and American Foreign Policy

Ideas and American Foreign Policy

ISBN 9780190645403
Edition 1
Publication Date
Publisher Oxford University Press
Author(s)
Overview
Andrew Bacevich's Ideas and American Foreign Policy is a broad-ranging reader that serves as a comprehensive overview of the role of ideas in American foreign policy over the entirety of the nation's history. Chronological in structure, the book features over 100 writings from major figures across all eras of American history, from John Winthrop to John Quincy Adams to Woodrow Wilson to George Kennan to Barack Obama. All of the book's 14 sections include clear introductions that contextualize the primary source essays. In combination, the pieces illustrate how foundational the power of ideas in US foreign policy thinking has been from the first English settlement to the Trump presidency. Throughout, Bacevich emphasizes the contest between affirming ideas, which justify actually existing policy, and dissenting ideas, which either call into question or challenge government actions and priorities while advancing alternatives. Ultimately, the volume shows how ideas--although not ideas alone--have always defined the framework within which policymakers operate. Understanding the evolution of the core ideas that drive US foreign policy facilitates our understanding of both the environment in which policymakers make decisions and the constraints within which they operate. Beginning with the founding of Anglo-America and concluding with the post-9/11 era, this will be an essential volume for anyone teaching a course on the history of US foreign policy or--more generally--any reader desiring an expertly arranged and authoritative collection of the most important documents in US foreign policy history.
Overview
Andrew Bacevich's Ideas and American Foreign Policy is a broad-ranging reader that serves as a comprehensive overview of the role of ideas in American foreign policy over the entirety of the nation's history. Chronological in structure, the book features over 100 writings from major figures across all eras of American history, from John Winthrop to John Quincy Adams to Woodrow Wilson to George Kennan to Barack Obama. All of the book's 14 sections include clear introductions that contextualize the primary source essays. In combination, the pieces illustrate how foundational the power of ideas in US foreign policy thinking has been from the first English settlement to the Trump presidency. Throughout, Bacevich emphasizes the contest between affirming ideas, which justify actually existing policy, and dissenting ideas, which either call into question or challenge government actions and priorities while advancing alternatives. Ultimately, the volume shows how ideas--although not ideas alone--have always defined the framework within which policymakers operate. Understanding the evolution of the core ideas that drive US foreign policy facilitates our understanding of both the environment in which policymakers make decisions and the constraints within which they operate. Beginning with the founding of Anglo-America and concluding with the post-9/11 era, this will be an essential volume for anyone teaching a course on the history of US foreign policy or--more generally--any reader desiring an expertly arranged and authoritative collection of the most important documents in US foreign policy history.

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