David G. Haglund
If there existed one defining feature of America's involvement with the world during the second half of the twentieth century, it was the strong preference given to what George Kennan once labelled 'particularistic' variants of internationalism over 'universalistic' ones. 1 Equally marked has been the geographical focus of this particularism, the North Atlantic region broadly conceived so as to embrace not only North America above the Rio Grande but also Western Europe and such portions of southern Europe as those countries in the Mediterranean basin.
This region had been the cynosure of American grand strategy for half a century, even if it had not been the exclusive concern of that strategy. In large measure, then, it was the security commitments made to allies in the North Atlantic community, as well as the relationships it has forged with important Western European states, that constituted the standard of America's post-1945 internationalism and provided a litmus test of the country's orientation towards that institution known as 'multilateralism'. The latter had been, and possibly still remains, very much a function of the 'Pax Atlantica'. 2
In recent years, many have concluded that America has been growing less committed to multilateralism as a method of statecraft. 3 Unless the next few decades of American foreign policy are to represent a fundamental departure from the pattern of the past five decades, and they may, America's