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Chapter

Ratna Kapur

This chapter looks at human rights, analysing the structure and politics of human rights in the twenty-first century. In particular, the chapter examines the influence of liberal internationalism on human rights and how this is shaped by the legacies of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and engagements with sexual, religious, and racial differences. The chapter encourages questions about whether rights are universal instruments of emancipation, or whether the rights are more complex, contradictory, and contingent in their functioning. The chapter also sets out the dominant understandings of human rights as progressive, universal, and based on a common human subject. Human rights advocates sometimes differ on the strategies to be adopted to address violations; these can have material, normative, and structural consequences that are not always empowering. These competing positions are illustrated through two case studies: one on the Islamic veil bans in Europe and the second on LGBT human rights interventions.

Chapter

This chapter examines the impact of regionalism on U.S. foreign policy. In contrast to accounts that grant primacy to ideas or institutions, it argues that America’s regional diversity is the most important source of tension and conflict over foreign policy. It also shows that conflicts over the purposes of American power, as well as the constitutional authority to exercise it, are fundamentally conflicts over the distribution of wealth and power in American society among coalitions with divergent interests and claims on the federal government’s resources. The chapter develops this argument by analysing debates over American foreign policy in three different periods: the 1890s, the 1930s, and the current era. After discussing the link between regional interests and foreign policy, the chapter considers the great debate over expansionism, the struggle over internationalism, and American primacy and the ‘new sectionalism’.

Chapter

This chapter examines the core assumptions of liberalism regarding world politics. It explores why liberals believe in progress, what explains the ascendancy of liberal ideas in world politics since 1945, and whether liberal solutions to global problems are hard to achieve and difficult to sustain. The chapter also considers central ideas in liberal thinking on international relations, including internationalism, idealism, and institutionalism. It concludes with an assessment of the challenges confronting liberalism. Two case studies are presented: one dealing with imperialism and internationalism in nineteenth-century Britain, and the other with the 1990–1991 Gulf War and its implications for collective security. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether liberal internationalist governments have a responsibility to protect other people from atrocity crimes.

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This chapter examines the impact of regional shifts on the making of US foreign policy. One of the most distinctive features of American politics is regionally based political competition and conflict. Scholars argue that regionalism in American politics is rooted in the geographically uneven nature of economic growth and development. The chapter first revisits debates over American foreign policy in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the current era, focusing on issues such as those relating to expansionism and hegemony, internationalism, militarism, and the disagreement between ‘red America’ and ‘blue America’ over foreign policy matters. It then explains how regional diversity causes tension and conflict in foreign policy and argues that conflicts over the purposes of American power, as well as the constitutional authority to exercise it, stem from the distribution of wealth and power in American society among coalitions with divergent interests and claims on the federal government’s resources.

Chapter

This chapter examines U.S. foreign policy debates and policy management under the direction of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It first provides an overview of post-Cold War American internationalism before discussing the so-called ‘Kennan sweepstakes’: a conscious effort to find a post-Soviet statement of purpose to rival George Kennan’s early Cold War concept of ‘containment’ of communism. It then considers U.S. foreign policy making in the new order and in the post-Cold War era. Both the Bush and Clinton administrations wrestled with the problem of deciding on a clear, publicly defensible, strategy for U.S. foreign policy in the new era. Clinton’s first term was dominated by free trade agendas and by efforts to operationalize the policy of ‘selective engagement’, while his second term involved a noticeable turn towards unilateralism and remilitarization. The New World Order was Bush’s main contribution to thinking beyond the Cold War.

Chapter

This chapter examines the liberalist approach to the theory and practice of international politics. It begins with an overview of liberalism and liberal internationalism’s main characteristics, including how they overlap with, yet significantly depart from, the realist perspective. It then considers the major liberalist schools of thought, namely: commercial or economic liberalism, human rights liberalism, international organization or institutions liberalism, and democratic liberalism. The chapter explores how contemporary liberal internationalism is losing significant power and appeal because the major Western states of the world system are experiencing serious international and domestic difficulties. It closes by indicating that the Western liberal internationalist order will likely lose a sizable portion of its long standing international dominance, resulting in a more widely spread global security management arrangement among a larger number of major states.

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This chapter focuses on national security, a central concept in foreign policy analysis. A core objective of foreign policy is to achieve national security. However, there is a great deal of ambiguity about the meaning of the concept. Although the traditional meaning of national security is often associated with protecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of the nation state, this does not exhaust all of the possible meanings. The chapter examines some of the competing conceptions of national security, beginning with the three main assumptions of realism that together help to account for the primacy of national security: statism, survival, and self-help. It then considers the field of security studies before concluding with an assessment of the theoretical controversy about the meaning of national security and how it relates to three American grand strategies: neo-isolationism, liberal internationalism, and primacy.

Chapter

Daniel Deudney and Jeffrey W. Meiser

This chapter argues why we must think of the United States as an exceptional kind of nation with a very distinct past and an equally distinct set of capabilities. It first considers American difference and exceptionality before discussing the meaning of exceptionalism, the critics of American exceptionalism, and the roots of American success. It then examines the liberalism that makes the United States exceptional, along with peculiar American identity formations of ethnicity, religion, and ‘race’ and how they interact with — and often subvert — American liberalism. It also analyses the role of American exceptionality across the five major epochs of US foreign policy, from the nation’s founding to the present day. Along the way, the chapter explores notions of American liberal republicanism, anti-statism, state-building, militarism, capitalism and prosperity, immigration, federal internationalism, unipolarity, war on terrorism, and unilateralism.

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

Patrick Morgan and Alan Collins

This chapter presents the liberalism approach to the theory and practice of international politics. As one of the two classic conceptions, along with realism, of international politics, its chief characteristics are identified and the major liberalist schools of thought are described and briefly examined, particularly with reference to how they overlap with, yet depart in significant ways from, the realist perspective. The concluding sections explore how contemporary liberal internationalism has lost significant power and appeal because the major Western states of the world system are experiencing serious international and domestic difficulties. It closes by indicating that the Western liberal internationalist order will likely lose a sizeable portion of its long-standing international dominance, resulting in a more widely spread global security management arrangement among a larger number of major states.