A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - 171 pages
A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy offers a conceptual and historical overview of American foreign relations from the founding to the present. Kaufman begins the book with a thorough explanation of major themes, concepts, and actors in international relations that gives students a solid foundation on which to analyze U.S. foreign policy. Subsequent chapters explore how these theories and concepts apply to political and historical actions, placing the evolution of foreign policy decisions within the context of the international situations and domestic priorities. Kaufman concludes with a look forward to the twenty-first century and uses case studies to encourage students to form their own ideas about American foreign policy.

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This book may be appropriate for a high school class room, but it is inappropriate for a college level class. It is overly simplistic, makes huge generalizations, and completely ignores huge parts of America's foreign policy. While I realize that it is supposed to be "concise," it is concise to the point of being misleading. It barely touches on the role of economics and the power the U.S. exerts through the IMF, the World Bank, and foreign aid. It looks at only the biggest events that everybody already knows about-Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, etc. If you want to learn something new or interesting, buy another book. Plan Colombia? Not mentioned even once. Propping up dictators in countries around the world? Not here. If you want to educate a 9th grader on foreign policy, this is a good book, but if you want to educate a college student, buy something more critical, with more depth.  

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Contents

Setting the Stage for Understanding US Foreign Policy
1
Unilateralism to Engagement The Founding to the End of World War I
29
The Interwar Years through World War II
55
The Cold War
75
Beyond the Cold War
115
What Next for US Foreign Policy?
145
Suggested Readings
159
Index
161
About the Author
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About the author (2006)

\Joyce P. Kaufman is professor of political science and director of the Whittier Scholars Program at Whittier College. She is the author of NATO and the Former Yugoslavia: Crisis, Conflict and the Atlantic Alliance and co-editor of NATO in the 1980s: Challenges and Responses.

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