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Chapter

This chapter focuses on the emergence of the United States as a ‘superpower’ in 1945. It begins with a discussion of how America rose from being a group of British colonies to a continental empire containing human slavery during the period 1776–1865. It then examines how the reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned America into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. It also considers Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and how the United States got involved in World War I, how the American economic system sank into depression between 1929 and 1933, and US role in the Cold War between 1933 and 1945.

Chapter

This chapter examines how the United States evolved as a world power during the period 1776–1945. It first considers how Americans set out after the War of Independence to establish a continental empire. Thomas Jefferson called this an ‘empire for liberty’, but by the early nineteenth century the United States had become part of an empire containing human slavery. Abraham Lincoln determined to stop the territorial expansion of this slavery and thus helped bring about the Civil War. The reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned the United States into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. The chapter also discusses Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and concludes with an analysis of U.S. economic depression and the onset of the Cold War.

Chapter

This chapter offers a theoretically informed overview of American foreign policy during the Cold War. It covers the main historical developments in U.S. policy: from the breakdown of the wartime alliance with the USSR and the emergence of the US–Soviet diplomatic hostility and geopolitical confrontation,to U.S. military interventions in the third world and the U.S. role in the ending of the Cold War. The chapter begins with a discussion of three main theoretical approaches to American foreign policy during the Cold War: realism, ideational approaches, and socio-economic approaches. It then considers the origins of the Cold War and containment of the Soviet Union, focusing on the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. It also examines the militarization of U.S. foreign policy with reference to the Korean War, Cold War in the third world, and the role of American foreign policy in the ending of the Cold War.

Chapter

This chapter examines US foreign policy during the Cold War, beginning with an overview of the main historical developments in US policy. It first considers the origins of the Cold War and containment, focusing on the breakdown of the wartime alliance between the United States and the USSR, the emergence of US–Soviet diplomatic hostility and geopolitical confrontation, and how the Cold War spread beyond Europe. It then explains how the communist revolution in China in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 propelled the US towards a much bolder and more ambitious containment policy. It also looks at US military interventions in the third world, the US role in the ending of the Cold War, and the geopolitical, ideational, and/or socio-economic factors that influenced American foreign policy during the Cold War. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the dual concerns of US foreign policy.

Chapter

Robert G. Patman

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Africa. It first considers the United States’ historical engagement with Africa, particularly during the Cold War era that saw the intensification of US–Soviet Union superpower rivalry, before discussing the rise of a New World Order in the immediate post–Cold War period that held out the possibility of positive US involvement in Africa. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a more realist approach after Somalia, as well as its renewal of limited engagement between 1996 and 2001. It also analyzes US policy towards Africa after 9/11, with emphasis on President George W. Bush’s efforts to incorporate Africa into Washington’s global strategic network as part of the new war on terror, as compared to the approach of the Obama administration calling for political transformation in Africa.

Chapter

This chapter examines the United States’ relations with China and other countries in Asia. It considers how a region wracked by insurgencies and wars for almost forty years was transformed from being one of the most disturbed and contested in the second half of the twentieth century, into becoming one of the more stable and prosperous by century’s end. The chapter begins with a discussion of the United States’ relations with Japan and then with China and Korea. It shows that at the end of the Cold War in Europe, hostility continued in the Korean peninsula, and that North Korea has consciously used nuclear weapons as a bargaining chip in order to ensure the survival of the regime. The chapter concludes by assessing the outlook for the Asia-Pacific region and future prospects for American hegemony in East Asia.

Chapter

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter presents two opposing views on the question of whether US power is in decline, and if so, what would be the best grand strategy that the United States need to pursue. According to Christopher Layne, the United States is now in inexorable decline and that this process of decline has been hastened by the pursuit of global primacy in the post-Cold War era. He also contends that primacy engenders balancing by other great powers as well as eroding America’s ‘soft power’ global consensual leadership. On the other hand, William Wohlforth and Steven Brooks insist that the United States remains the sole superpower in the world and that it faces comparatively weak systemic constraints on the global exercise of its power. The chapter considers issues of unipolarity and multipolarity, along with the implications of China’s rise as a great power status for US foreign policy and hegemony.

Chapter

Lee Marsden

This chapter examines the influence of religion on US foreign policy. It first considers how religion affected American policy during the Cold War, from the time of Harry S. Truman to George H. W. Bush, before discussing the bilateral relationship between Israel and the United States. It then looks at the rise of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a US-based interest group, and how its work has been complemented by conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists who ascribe to Christian Zionism. It also explores the ways in which religion has intersected with the global war on terror and US foreign policy, how the US resorted to faith-based diplomacy, the issue of religious freedom, and George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Africa. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs (ORGA), created by Barack Obama.

Chapter

This chapter examines the historical evolution of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. It begins with a discussion of the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny, which sought to contain European expansion and to justify that of the United States under an ethos of hemispherism. It then considers the projection of U.S. power beyond its frontiers in the early twentieth century, along with the effect of the Cold War on U.S. policy towards Latin America. It also explores American policy towards the left in Central America, where armed conflict prevailed in the 1980s, and that for South America, where the Washington Consensus brought an end to the anti-European aspects of the Monroe Doctrine by promoting globalization.

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This chapter examines the main dynamics that have transformed U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East over the last eighty-five years, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. It first considers the applicability of realist, Marxist, and constructivist theories of international relations before discussing the role that the Cold War, oil, and Israel have played in shaping U.S. foreign policy. It shows how, in each of these three areas, U.S. tactical approach to the Middle East has produced unintended consequences that have increased resentment towards America, destabilized the region, and undermined its long-term strategic goals. The chapter also explores the Bush Doctrine, launched after 9/11 and the resultant invasion of Iraq. It concludes by assessing Obama’s attempts to overcome the tensions and suspicion causes by previous U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Chapter

Mike Smith

This chapter examines the United States’ involvement in the transatlantic relationship with the European integration project. In particular, it considers the ways in which U.S. foreign policy makers have developed images of the European Community and now the European Union on the challenges posed by European integration for U.S. policy processes and the uses of U.S. power. It also explores how these challenges have been met in the very different conditions of the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. It concludes by raising a number of questions about the capacity of the United States to shape and adapt to European integration, and thus about the future of U.S.–EU relations.

Chapter

This chapter examines some of the competing theories that have been advanced to explain U.S. foreign policy. In trying to explain the foreign policy of the United States, a number of competing theories have been developed by International Relations scholars. Some theories focus on the role of the international system in shaping American foreign policy while others argue that various domestic factors are the driving force. The chapter first considers some of the obstacles to constructing a theory of foreign policy before discussing some of the competing theories of American foreign policy, including defensive realism, offensive realism, liberalism, Marxism, neoclassical realism, and constructivism. The chapter proceeds by reviewing the theoretical debate over the origins of the Cold War and the debate over the most appropriate grand strategy that the United States should follow in the post-Cold War era.

Chapter

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Latin America and the historical evolution of US relations with the region. It first considers the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny, which sought to contain European expansion and to justify that of the United States under an ethos of hemispherism, before discussing the projection of US power beyond its frontiers in the early twentieth century. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a less unilateral approach during the depression of the 1930s and an aggressively ideological approach in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. It also analyzes US policy towards the left in Central America, where armed conflict prevailed in the 1980s, and in South America, where the Washington Consensus brought an end to the anti-European aspects of the Monroe Doctrine by promoting globalization. Finally, it looks at the impact of the Cold War on US policy towards Latin America.

Chapter

This chapter considers some of the competing theories that have been proposed to explain US foreign policy. It first provides an overview of some of the obstacles to constructing a theory of foreign policy before discussing some of the competing theories of US foreign policy, including systemic theories such as defensive realism and offensive realism, theories that accentuate domestic factors like liberalism and Marxism, and a theory that combines systemic and domestic factors, such as neoclassical realism and constructivism. The chapter also revisits the theoretical debate over the origins of the Cold War and concludes by analysing the debate on the most appropriate grand strategy that the United States should follow in the post-Cold War era, with particular emphasis on, primacy, liberal internationalism, and offshore balancing.

Chapter

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines how US foreign policy on environmental issues has evolved over a period of nearly five decades, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. It first considers the United States’ environmental multilateralism as well as environmental initiatives under Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Donald Trump before discussing key trends and puzzles in US foreign environmental policy. It shows the United States as an environmental leader during the Cold War, but an environmental laggard in the post–Cold War period, with the Obama administration’s re-engagement in climate diplomacy as a significant exception. The chapter also explains how the larger trend of waning environmental leadership from the United States has occurred at the same time as international environmental problems, especially climate change, have increasingly moved from the periphery towards the centre of world politics.

Chapter

Michael Smith

This chapter examines the United States’ transatlantic relationship with the European integration project and its implications for US foreign policy. In particular, it considers the ways in which US policy makers have developed images of the European Community (EC) and later the European Union (EU) on the challenges posed by European integration for US policy processes and the uses of US power. The chapter first explores key factors in the evolution of the relationship within US foreign policy up to the end of the Cold War before discussing trends and tensions in the period between 1990 and 2016 covering the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. It also analyzes the impact of Donald Trump’s policies on US relations with the EU before concluding with an assessment of a number of wider questions about the future of the US–EU relations.