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Cover Foreign Policy

16. Neoconservatism and the domestic sources of American foreign policy  

The role of ideas in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Yuen Foong Khong

This chapter examines the role played by neoconservative ideas about foreign policy in persuading the George W. Bush administration to launch a preventive war against Iraq in March 2003. It considers the four key tenets of neoconservative foreign policy thought and how some of its leading proponents won key positions in the Bush administration. It argues that, by itself, neoconservatism provides only a partial explanation of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A more satisfactory explanation, it contends, would need to take into account the following: the 9/11 attacks, the strategic placement of neoconservative ideas by its advocates in calmer times, the assumption that the United States would have no trouble waging a successful war, and the ‘one per cent’ doctrine. It is the combination of these events, ideas, and probability estimates that tipped the balance in favour of war.

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15. The USA, China, and rising Asia  

Michael Cox

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.

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22. The future of US foreign policy  

Anatol Lieven

This chapter examines possible futures for American foreign policy in terms of the interests and ideology of the U.S. elites (and to a lesser extent the population at large), the structures of U.S. political life, and the real or perceived national interests of the United States. It first provides an overview of the ideological roots of U.S. foreign policy before discussing key contemporary challenges for U.S. foreign policy. In particular, it considers American relations with China, how to mobilize U.S. military power for foreign policy goals, and the issue of foreign aid. The chapter proceeds by analysing the most important features of America’s future foreign policies, focusing on the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Europe and the transatlantic relationship. It concludes by describing some catastrophic scenarios that could accelerate the decline of US power.

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Cover International Relations Since 1945

8. Collapsing Empires: The Cold War Battle for Hearts and Minds, 1953–63  

This chapter examines how the United States and the Soviet Union sought to win the hearts and minds of people in various parts of the world as empires began to collapse during the period 1953–63. It begins with a discussion of the end of the French Empire, taking into account the loss of French Indo-China and the start of American involvement in Vietnam, along with the collapse of French rule in Morocco and Tunisia. It then considers the crises in the Congo, Angola, and the Middle East, focusing on the zenith of the Cold War in Black Africa, Britain’s declining power, and the Suez Crisis. It concludes by looking at the end of the British Empire in Africa.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

14. Political Democracy and State Repression  

Christian Davenport

This chapter explores the relationship between political democracy and state repression. Afer providing an overview of the democracy–repression link, it considers what research has been conducted on the topic and also what has been ignored. It uses the United States and its treatment of African Americans as an example of how existing research in this field should change, as well as to emphasize the importance of disaggregation (regarding institutions, actors, and actions). The chapter concludes by suggesting directions for future research. It argues that researchers need to improve the way in which they think about the relationship between democracy and repression, and that they need to modify how they gather information about democracy and repression.

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Cover International Relations Since 1945

25. Economic Problems in the West and the Economic Rise of China in the East  

This chapter examines the shift in global balance that began in the post-2007 economic crisis. For a considerable time before the 2008 crisis, the United States and most European states had been living on high levels of debt both national and individual, public and private. Manufacturing in the developed West, and its provision of secure jobs for many workers, was undermined by the new economic environment of globalization, as well as the growth of cheaper manufacturing in China and the other BRIC countries. A new epoch of financial capitalism, which had emerged since the 1980s, was in full swing by the start of the Noughties. The chapter first considers the post-2007 economic crisis, before discussing the continuing rise of China and Russian foreign policy under Vladimir Putin. It concludes with an assessment of international reactions to China’s rise, including those of East Asia, international organizations, and Taiwan.

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Cover International Relations Since 1945

4. The Cold War Intensifies: Containment Superseded, 1948–53  

This chapter examines the intensification of the Cold War and the decision of the US to abandon ‘containment’ in favour of ‘liberation’ during the period 1948–53. By 1948, the dominant relationship between the Soviet Union, the US, and Britain had moved from one of cooperation to confrontation, and then to hostility and conflict. In this situation, the Cold War required a clearly defined strategy for fighting it. Western interpretations of this strategy have largely been based on the idea of containment and especially about the form of containment that should be adopted. The chapter discusses the origins of Cold War fighting; armaments and militarization; the Cold War and European integration; the NSC 68 memorandum, rearmament, and the Cold War offensive controversy; and the growing importance of communist China and the conflict in Korea.

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22. The American liberal order: from creation to crisis  

G. John Ikenberry

This chapter examines the rise and evolution of the liberal order that was created by the United States and and other liberal democratic states in the decades after World War II, along with the modern challenges to it. The liberal order that emerged after World War II paved the way for a rapid expansion in world trade, the successful integration of former enemies such as Japan and Germany, and the transition to liberal democracy in formerly authoritarian states. Furthermore, the collapse of communism was considered a triumph of liberalism. The chapter first explains how the American liberal order was constructed after World War II before discussing the successes of that order and the end of the ‘socialist’ project in the 1980s. It also analyzes some of the major threats to this liberal order today, particularly those from within, as a result of Donald Trump’s rejection of the American liberal tradition.

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25. US decline or primacy? A debate  

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.

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Cover US Foreign Policy

Introduction: US foreign policy—past, present, and future  

Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

This edition provides an account of contemporary U.S. foreign policy. There are at least five broad themes that inform the text. The first is the importance of the past for understanding the present. The second concerns the complex relationship between foreign policy and America’s longer-term goals and interests. Policy makers have assumed that the international order that would best advance American interests would be composed primarily of democratic states, open markets, and self-determining nations. The third theme is the importance of the ‘domestic’ in shaping U.S. foreign policy choices, including factors such as interest groups, the role of institutions, and the power of ideas. The fourth theme relates to the issue of perspective or ‘balance’, and the fifth and final theme refers to the fact that whatever one might think of the United States past, present, or future, it is simply too important to be ignored.

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1. Theories of US foreign policy  

Brian Schmidt

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.

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13. The USA and the EU  

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.

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16. US foreign policy in Latin America  

James Dunkerley

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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18. Global economy  

Peter Gowan and Doug Stokes

This chapter examines some of the central debates on how we should understand the United States’ efforts to reshape international economic relations since the 1940s. It first considers debates on the sources and mechanisms of American economic strategy before turning to debates about the substance of American efforts to shape the global economy. It approaches the debates about the substance of U.S. foreign economic policy since 1945 by classifying varying perspectives on this question in three alternative images. The first such image is that of America as the promoter of a cooperative, multilateral order in international economics. The second image is that of an American economic nationalism and the third is that of an American empire. The chapter goes on to analyse the global financial crisis and concludes with an overview of some of the main current debates about the strength of American capitalism in the world economy.

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20. Global environment  

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines the evolution of U.S. foreign policy on environmental issues over four decades, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. It first considers U.S. environmental multilateralism and foreign environment policy before explaining how the United States, despite being widely regarded as an environmental leader during the Cold War period, has increasingly become an environmental laggard in the post-Cold War period. The chapter attributes the decline in U.S. leadership to the country’s new status as the sole superpower, the more challenging character of the new generation of global environmental problems that emerged in the late 1980s, the structure of the U.S. economy and political system, and key features of U.S. grand strategy.

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21. American foreign policy after 9/11  

Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

This chapter examines U.S. foreign policy after 9/11 with a view to looking at continuities as well as the disjunctions of Washington’s engagement with the world. It first considers the impact of 9/11 on the United States, particularly its foreign policy, before discussing the influence of neo-conservatism on the making of U.S. foreign policy during the presidency of George W. Bush. It then analyses debates about the nature of U.S. foreign policy over the last few decades and its ability to create antagonisms that can and have returned to haunt the United States both at home and abroad. It also explores how increasing belief in the utility of military power set the parameters of U.S. foreign policy after 9/11, along with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and concludes with an assessment of Barak Obama’s approach with regards to terrorism and his foreign policy agenda more generally.

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23. US decline or primacy? A debate  

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter focuses on the debate over whether U.S. power is in decline and if so, what is the best grand strategy that the United States needs to pursue. Three leading experts offer their views on the issue and its significance for U.S. foreign policy: Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Steven Brooks. Layne argues that the United States is now in inexorable decline and attributes it to the end of unipolarity. He identifies two specific drivers of American decline, one external and one domestic. The external driver of U.S. decline is the emergence of new great powers in world politics, while domestic drivers include debt, deficits, and the dollar’s uncertain future. In contrast, Wohlforth and Brooks assert that the United States remains the sole superpower, and that multipolarity is not just around the corner.

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3. The US rise to world power, 1776–1945  

Walter LaFeber

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.

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Cover The Globalization of World Politics

4. International history of the twentieth century  

Len Scott

This chapter focuses on some of the principal developments in world politics from 1900 to 1999: the development of total war, the advent of nuclear weapons, the onset of cold war, and the end of European imperialism. It shows how the confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union became the key dynamic in world affairs, replacing the dominance of—and conflict among—European states in the first half of the twentieth century. It also examines the ways that the cold war promoted or prevented global conflict, how decolonization became entangled with East–West conflicts, and how dangerous the nuclear confrontation between East and West was. Finally, the chapter considers the role of nuclear weapons in specific phases of the cold war, notably in détente, and then with the deterioration of Soviet–American relations in the 1980s.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

6. Rising powers and the emerging global order  

Andrew Hurrell

This chapter examines the global order, led by the United States, that emerged at the end of the cold war and asks whether it has been effectively challenged by rising powers. It begins with a discussion of the challenges to the idea of a U.S.-dominated global order, focusing in particular on the role of large, emerging developing countries as well as the idea of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in the context of the future of the global economy. The chapter then considers the more recent economic slowdown in the emerging world, along with the political and social challenges facing many emerging societies. It also analyses some of the major theoretical arguments about the impact of rising powers on international relations and whether they are powerful enough to affect international order. The chapter also asks, what is the role of emerging powers in a post-Western order characterized both by US/China rivalry and by pressing global challenges such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic?