At Home Abroad: Identity and Power in American Foreign Policy / Edition 1

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The United States has never felt at home abroad. The reason for this unease, even after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is not frequent threats to American security. It is America's identity. The United States, its citizens believe, is a different country, a New World of divided institutions and individualistic markets surviving in an Old World of nationalistic governments and statist economies. In this Old World, the United States finds no comfort and alternately tries to withdraw from it and reform it. America cycles between ambitious internationalist efforts to impose democracy and world order, and more nationalist appeals to trim multilateral commitments and demand that the European and Japanese allies do more.In At Home Abroad, Henry R. Nau explains that America is still unique but no longer so very different. All the industrial great powers in western Europe (and, arguably, also Japan) are now strong liberal democracies. A powerful and peaceful new world exists beyond America's borders and anchors America's identity, easing its discomfort and ending the cycle of withdrawal and reform.Nau draws on constructivist and realist perspectives to show how relative national identities interact with relative national power to define U.S. national interests. He provides fresh insights for U.S. grand strategy toward various countries. In Europe, the identity and power perspective advocates U.S. support for both NATO expansion to consolidate democratic identities in eastern Europe and concurrent, but separate, great-power cooperation with Russia in the United Nations. In Asia, this perspective recommends a shift of U.S. strategy from bilateralism to concentric multilateralism, starting with an emerging democratic security community among the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Taiwan, and progressively widening this community to include reforming ASEAN states and, if it democratizes, China. In the developing world, Nau's approach calls for balancing U.S. moral (identity) and material (power) commitments, avoiding military intervention for purely moral reasons, as in Somalia, but undertaking such intervention when material threats are immediate, as in Afghanistan, or material and moral stakes coincide, as in Kosovo.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Nau here strives to transcend the perennial, and sterile, debate between realists and idealists over the proper shape of American foreign policy . . . . Solid and well argued if not outstanding, At Home Abroad belongs in all international affairs collections."—Library Journal, April 2002

"Not only did the 'conventional' interpretive and prescriptive frameworks. . . . fail to predict or explain the outcome of the Cold War, but none appears to offer an adequate foundation for examining or navigating the post-Cold War environment. At Home Abroad is a smart, challenging effort to guide scholars and policy makers out of this quagmire. . . . Nau's book exceeds the sum of its parts and warrants close reading."—Choice, September 2002, Vol. 40, No. 1

"When Henry R. Nau writes about America in this intriguing book, his profound ideas and incisive explanations sweep across the landscape of American foreign policy. Everyone who wants or needs to understand who Americans are, where they are headed, and why, would be rewarded by spending a few hours with this volume, which is especially pertinent to the era that began on September 11, 2001."—Richard Halloran, Far Eastern Economic Review, 9/12/02

"An engaging, wide-ranging study, At Home Abroad warrants the attention of all who write or think seriously about contemporary international relations."—Robert J. McMahon, University of Florida, The Journal of American History, June 2003

"One of the most significant aspects of Nau's book is that he considers identity and power as equally influential in foreign policy-making. . . . Nau's approach is thought-provoking and relatively refreshing. He makes cogent arguments and his book should be widely read by those concerned with the future directions of US foreign policy and international affairs more generally."—Trevor B. McCrisken, UWE Bristol/Rothermere American Institute, Oxford University. International Affairs, 79:1, Jan. 2003.

"At Home Abroad has something for everyone. . . . Scholars will find value in Nau's novel synthesis of competing paradigmatic traditions. Policy makers and nonprofessionals with special interest in international affairs should be pleased with the authors straightforward prose, his concern with the real world of diplomacy, and his willingness to offer concrete policy recommendations."—Stephen R. Rock, Vassar College, Political Science Quarterly

"The realities underlying U.S. foreign policy are shifting, so we all need ideas on how to think through opportunities and problems. Henry Nau provides a carefully thought framework of ideas and shows us how to use that framework. This volume is not just for reading, but even more for studying and thinking."—George P. Shultz

"The war on terrorism has made it increasingly clear that the United States must rethink its long-term strategy in international affairs. Henry Nau makes an admirable start here, arguing that an America strong and self-confident first recognize it no longer represents a New World, separate and apart. European nations as well as Japan have become mature democracies, too, and the U.S. can best find security through building a community with them. Nau's theoretical framework is original and fresh, meriting the attention of academics and practitioners alike."—David Gergen

"Henry Nau combines realism and constructivism in showing that ideas are as important as mere possession of power in determining the national interest. He has produced a creative and original roadmap for American foreign policy in the global information age that has succeeded the Cold War."—Joseph Nye, Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"Power is a means to an end, and those ends are heavily influenced by a state's identity . In this important, interesting , and timely book, Nau uses a states' views about the legitimate use of force to define a state's identity and the distribution of identities across states. Combining the distributions of identities and power, At Home Abroad then provides a very thoughtful and thought-provoking analysis of American foreign policy and some of the challenges ahead."—Robert Powell, University of California at Berkeley

Foreign Affairs
The United States' sense of its own exceptionalism — as a perfected New World polity — has long haunted its foreign relations, pushing it either to remake the world in its own image or to retreat into its own borders. This important reinterpretation of U.S. foreign policy illuminates the tensions, conflicts, and opportunities that flow from this unique national self-image. Nau's ambitious argument is that relations between states are shaped by both power and national identity. Where power is highly unequal and national identities diverge (such as in U.S. relations with countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America), relations tend to be hegemonic. Where power is more equally distributed but national identities diverge (such as in U.S.-Soviet Cold War relations and perhaps in emerging Sino-American relations), balance-of-power politics prevails. But where national identities converge and power disparities are less dramatic (such as in relations between the advanced industrialized democracies), more complex, interdependent, stable, and legitimate relations prevail. Nau offers rich discussions of U.S. foreign policy under these different configurations. His optimistic conclusion is that the spread of capitalist democracy creates a more hospitable world in which the United States can reconcile its self-image with the leadership of a decentralized and well-coordinated global system.
Library Journal
Nau (political science and international affairs, George Washington Univ.) here strives to transcend the perennial, and sterile, debate between realists and idealists over the proper shape of American foreign policy. As he shows, both power and ideals are essential to a policy premised on buoying a just world order. The United States, first of all, needs to maintain military power adequate to balance the states that do not share its democratic identity. Yet the identities of the Western European nations and certain Asian nations have converged with that of America to such a degree that there is no longer any need to play power politics vis- -vis these states. U.S. foreign policy, concludes Nau, should aim to preserve and progressively extend this democratic fellowship, preferably by expanding NATO to the Baltics and cultivating an Asian security community alongside Japan, South Korea, and Australia. In the developing world, America should refrain from involvement unless its moral and material interests are equally engaged. Kosovo and Haiti satisfy this litmus test; not so Sudan and Somalia. Solid and well argued if not outstanding, At Home Abroad belongs in all international affairs collections. James R. Holmes, Ph.D. candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801439315
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Political Economy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: At Home Abroad: Overcoming America's Separatist Self-Image 1
1 Identity and Power: The Sources of National Interest 15
2 Trade-Offs: America's Foreign Policy Traditions 43
3 National Identity: Consequences for Foreign Policy 60
4 Permanent Partnership: America and the Other Industrial Democracies 86
5 Winning the Peace: America and the Formerly Communist States of Europe 121
6 From Bilateralism to Multilateralism: American Policy in Asia 152
7 Beyond Indifference: American Relations with the Developing World 190
Conclusion: American Foreign Policy in the Twenty-first Century 237
Notes 255
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