Pursuing the National Interest: Moments of Transition in Twentieth-Century American Foreign Policy

Synopsis

The history of twentieth-century American foreign policy presents an indictment of classical and structural realism and systemic theories of international relations more generally. Examining five crucial movements of transition in American foreign policy making - before and after each of the world wars and the end of the Cold War - Shonberg argues that the national interest resides mostly in the eye of the beholder, and that the idiosyncratic perceptions, beliefs, and values of individuals are of vital importance in the policy process. Thus, America's recent experiences in global politics, interpreted through the lens of national ideology, has defined and created the ultimate shape of a new foreign policy.