The New Isolationism: A Study in Politics and Foreign Policy since 1950

The New Isolationism: A Study in Politics and Foreign Policy since 1950

The New Isolationism: A Study in Politics and Foreign Policy since 1950

The New Isolationism: A Study in Politics and Foreign Policy since 1950

Excerpt

This book is a study of the unfortunate effects on American diplomacy of certain internal political forces in the United States since 1950. There is nothing unusual or objectionable in the use of foreign policy issues in the struggle for domestic political power, provided that the discussion hinges on responsible alternatives based on world realities and national limitations. But for politicians the temptation is always present to ride to political victory on promises that can never be fulfilled -- only to find on achieving office that their utopian commitments to domestic political elements have left them without bargaining power in the give-and-take of international diplomacy. Such hazards to effective diplomacy have appeared from time to time in every democratic country. Nowhere can they be more clearly seen than in the breakdown of American bipartisan foreign policy in the past half-decade.

The roots of an unrealistic attitude toward foreign policy lie deep in American history. In the nineteenth century American success in all fields came so quickly and cheaply that the majority of the people never understood the role of power in that success. America's freedom to develop along her own lines depended essentially on the British Navy and the European balance-of-power structure. Under this vitally important but unobtrusive protection Americans gradually lost their sense of reality in foreign affairs.

The result was the characteristic frame of reference of . . .

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