America Recommitted

America Recommitted: A Superpower Assesses Its Role in a Turbulent World

Donald E. Nuechterlein
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    America Recommitted
    Book Description:

    When the first edition ofAmerica Recommittedwas published in 1991, the world was passing through a period of sweeping political and social change. The Cold War was over; China had reverted to harsh authoritarian rule; U.S.-led forces were deployed in Saudi Arabia for potential military action against Iraq; the Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegration; and the unraveling of Yugoslavia had set the stage for brutal ethnic conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. In the midst of this widespread upheaval, the United States reassessed its own role as the sole remaining superpower¾a process that continues today. This new edition features three new chapters that assess U.S. foreign policy during the last two years of the Bush presidency and the first seven years of the Clinton administration, bringing new data and insights to the questions that have challenged U.S. policymakers during the 1990s.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4828-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface to First Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction, 1989: A Transition Year in World Politics
    (pp. 1-11)

    Historians will very likely look back on 1989 as the year when fundamental changes occurred in the international balance of power and altered the way many nations assessed their national interests—including defense needs, expectations for economic growth, prospects for world peace, and demands for individual rights. The spectacular changes of that year caused the new Bush administration to reassess America’s international relations, especially the implications of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s stunning revisions of Soviet society and foreign policy. Although the altered international environment in 1989 was relatively easy for political observers to describe, the long-term impact on U.S. foreign...

  7. 1 Defining U.S. National Interests: An Analytical Framework
    (pp. 12-31)

    The term “national interest” has been applied by statesmen, scholars, and military planners since the Middle Ages to the foreign policy and national security goals of nation-states. American presidents and their secretaries of state have invoked the term since the beginning of the republic, and today it is widely used to define the broad purposes of U.S. foreign policy. For example, Ronald Reagan’s report to Congress in 1987, titledNational Security Strategy of the United States, included a section that described: U.S. Interests, Major Objectives in Support of U.S. Interests, and Principal Threats to U.S. Interests. This presidential statement asserted...

  8. 2 Era of American Preeminence, 1945–1965
    (pp. 32-59)

    For twenty years after World War II the United States was the preeminent power in international relations, and it undertook to create a new world order in which American political, economic, and security interests would be enhanced. Like those in the 1920s and early 1930s, America’s postwar leaders perceived no direct military threat to North America. They therefore adopted a strategy of forward defense, first in Europe and then in Asia, to contain an expansionist Soviet Union, which was seen as the only great power with both hostile intentions and the potential capability of threatening U.S. territory. For purposes of...

  9. 3 Time of Reassessment, 1966–1980
    (pp. 60-89)

    The fifteen years from 1966 through 1980 were a period of reassessment of U.S. national interests, prompted by the costs of the Vietnam intervention and serious public questioning about the increasingly costly world role that four presidents-Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson—had pursued in their foreign and national security policies. This period of reevaluation and growing introspection included the tenures of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter—Johnson having presided during a three-year transition between the first and second phases of U.S. postwar foreign policy. This second phase may be divided into three segments corresponding to Lyndon Johnson’s final three years...

  10. 4 Resurgent American Power, 1981–1990
    (pp. 90-116)

    The presidential election of November 1980 marked a watershed in American politics and in U.S. foreign policy. President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush came to office in January 1981 with a mandate for radical change in both foreign and domestic policy. Reagan was greatly assisted in his new direction for America when the Republican Party also captured control of the Senate for the first time in three decades. From the time of his inauguration it was clear that the new president intended to make the United States more powerful abroad and economically stronger at home, and to reverse...

  11. 5 U.S. Interests and Policies in North and South America, 1990
    (pp. 117-147)

    The United States is the only great power in the twentieth century to take on major security responsibilities outside its geographic area and simultaneously ignore the other major states constituting its own “neighborhood.” From 1945 until 1980, Canada and Mexico-two of America’s largest trading partners—were taken for granted by Washington policymakers while successive presidents were preoccupied with building military alliances and bases around the world as part of the government’s worldwide Soviet containment policy.

    Washington’s neglect of Latin America was shattered in 1960 by Fidel Castro’s rise to power in Cuba and by President John Kennedy’s subsequent military confrontation...

  12. 6 U.S. Interests and Policies in East Asia, 1990
    (pp. 148-170)

    East Asia is the principal region of the world where America’s vital national interests were vastly expanded in the 1950s and 1960s. This resulted from a new Sino-Soviet security threat precipitated by the Chinese Communist Party’s achievement of power in 1949 and Mao Zedong’s conclusion of a defense alliance with Stalin in February 1950. It was natural, therefore, that the region should be given special scrutiny by U.S. policymakers in 1990 as the United States reordered its worldwide national security priorities to reflect the realities of a post–Cold War world. This did not suggest that U.S. interests and policies...

  13. 7 U.S. Interests and Policies in Europe and the U.S.S.R., 1990
    (pp. 171-198)

    For more than forty years following World War II, Europe was the major battleground in a global struggle for preeminence between the Soviet Union and the United States. This confrontation engaged most of the countries in Europe, which were arrayed against one another in the Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Despite interludes of detente in the late 1950s and early 1970s, the struggle for control of Europe—particularly Germany—dominated international politics for nearly half a century and at times brought the world dangerously close to a third world war.

    On June 4, 1990, during an official...

  14. 8 Post–Cold War Challenges to U.S. Interests, 1991–1995
    (pp. 199-237)

    In the spring and early summer of 1990 the United States reemerged as the preeminent world power. The Soviet Union, which had been a serious competitor for international influence for more than forty years, decided to give up the race and concentrate its energies on rebuilding a failing economy. George Bush basked in the success of three summit meetings within six weeks: with Mikhail Gorbachev; with leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries (Britain, France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United States); and with the sixteen NATO heads of government, who had stood together against Moscow’s pressure during...

  15. 9 Toward the New Millennium, 1996–1999
    (pp. 238-280)

    The final years of the twentieth century saw unprecedented prosperity and economic growth in the United States. In 1999 the country recorded a lower inflation rate and less unemployment than at any time since the early 1970s. In addition, the federal government ran a budget surplus for the first time in thirty years and the Dow-Jones stock index rose to heights not dreamed of five years earlier. The United States surged ahead of Japan and Europe as the world’s economic powerhouse. And in the 1990s the U.S. military, with superb training and highly sophisticated weapons, demonstrated in the Persian Gulf,...

  16. 10 Role of the Aloof but Vigilant Superpower
    (pp. 281-298)

    As the United States entered the twenty-first century it faced a fundamental choice regarding its attitude toward other regions of the world and the role it wished to play in shaping the international environment during the next decade. Simply put, Americans needed to decide whether their government should take on the role of international hegemon or accept the less grandiose role of aloof but vigilant superpower. A hegemonic role implies that the U.S. government is willing to intervene regularly, with military forces when necessary, to create an international order that enhances regional security around the globe and, in addition, makes...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 299-312)
  18. Index
    (pp. 313-323)