American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World: Essays from 75 Years of Foreign Affairsby James F. Hoge
Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the world's leading journal of international relations, a distinction earned by providing the most insightful and far-reaching commentary on global politics and economic policy available anywhere. America has increasingly played a pivotal role in world events, whether military, political, economic or ideological, and Foreign Affairs and its contributors have been at the center of each debate.
It was in Foreign Affairs that George Kennan first proposed the policy of containment that became the touchstone of U.S. strategy during the Cold War; that statesmen-scholars like Henry Kissinger and Arthur Schlesinger have debated the contentious issues of nuclear weapons and human rights; that journalists like Walter Lippmann and James Reston have offered prescient analyses of American foreign policy; and that thinkers like Isaiah Berlin and Samuel Huntington have explained the changing nature of the world. In The American Encounter, readers will find these landmark essays and many more in a unique intellectual history of this century and of the extraordinary role that America has played in it.
There is no other book like this, because there is no other publication like Foreign Affairs. The American Encounter is a powerful link to the giants of history -- those visionaries whose warnings and advice still speak to us today, offering wisdom, insight, and a greater understanding of America's place in the world.
Perhaps the most interesting characteristic of this volume is not its overview of a changing world during a turbulent century, but rather the subtle indications of a changing perception of that world. Many of the names and topics are expected: Kennan on containment of the Soviets; Kissinger on diplomacy; Morgenthau on foreign intervention; Brzezinski on the Cold War. But there are also surprises, especially during the earlier decades: renegade Marxist Kautsky on Germany after WW I; Italian philosopher Croce on liberty in the 1930s; Soviet theorist Bukharin on imperialism; and anthropologist Mead on what later came to be known as North-South relations. Together the selections constitute a short intellectual history of foreign-policy concerns. Despite the often gloomy realities, the early contributions are characterized by a belief that ideas matter and that a wide range of them are worth considering. The postWW II period is dominated by a narrower discourse of national interest within shared assumptions about a bipolar world. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the articles share a sense of discovery that the world is a much more complex place than could ever have been imagined during the Cold War. This evolution in the mindset dominating the pages of Foreign Affairs reflects both the journal's failure and its success. Its goal, announced in the lead article of the first issue, was to educate the broad public about foreign events and issues. It has remained, however, largely a forum for the intelligentsia.
The evidence that the experts have learned a lot over the years, however, suggests that the journal nevertheless deserves its reputation as the place for serious discussions of foreign policy. Well worth reading.
- Basic Books
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- 1 ED
- Product dimensions:
- 6.54(w) x 9.57(h) x 2.09(d)
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