Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy

Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy: An International History Reader

Michael H. Hunt
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 460
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  • Book Info
    Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy
    Book Description:

    Repeatedly in the twentieth century, the United States has been involved in confrontations with other countries, each with the potential for widespread international and domestic upheaval, even disaster. In this book Michael Hunt focuses on seven such crises, presenting for each an illuminating introduction and a rich collection of original documents. His epilogue considers the nature of international crises and the U.S. record in dealing with them.The case studies include:•the American entry into World War I the Japanese-American rivalry that led to Pearl Harbor•the origins of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War•the collision between China and the United States during the Korean War•the confrontation over Soviet missiles in Cuba•Lyndon Johnson`s commitment to war in Vietnam•and the American entanglement in the Iranian revolution

    The studies allow the reader to see U.S. foreign policymaking firsthand and to understand it as something that is shaped by interactions with other nations and leaders as well as by American values, attitudes, and needs. To provide an international perspective, both the narrative and the documents give as much attention to foreign policymakers as to their American counterparts, emphasizing the invariably dynamic, often confused, and sometimes chaotic interaction between the two sides.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12961-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-6)

    Foreign policy is about discord and collaboration among nations. That policymakers cope daily with the elements of conflict and cooperation is readily apparent and in the abstract easily grasped. That that coping process works itself outnotin the confines of one capital or in the minds of one set of policymakers but several is an insight that often receives less attention.

    The dangers of a narrow, single-nation focus apply as much to the study of U.S. foreign policy as to that of any other country. From the struggle for independence and national survival in the context of Anglo-French rivalry...

  5. 1 Wilson and the European War, 1914–1917 REDEFINING THE RULES OF THE GAME
    (pp. 7-55)

    The outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914 created for the United States a crisis that bore hallmarks familiar from the nation’s first few decades in world affairs. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo triggered a conflict between two alliance systems that divided Europe from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The resulting desperate struggle between the Entente powers (Britain, France, Russia, and Italy after 1915) and the Central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) resembled the Anglo-French contest that plagued an earlier generation of American policymakers. As in the 1790s and the 1800s, so also...

  6. 2 The Road to Pearl Harbor, 1931–1941 THE DANGERS OF DRIVING IN THE FAST LANE
    (pp. 56-111)

    On the morning of 7 December 1941 a Japanese naval task force launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. In what President Franklin D. Roosevelt described in an address to the nation as “a day that will live in infamy,” the attack killed twenty-four hundred Americans, destroyed or immobilized seven battleships (the backbone of the Pacific fleet), and crippled the air force on Hawaii.

    The sense of outrage expressed by Roosevelt in reaction to the sneak attack persisted after the war. In war crimes trials held in Tokyo the victors indicted Japan’s leaders for having violated treaties, flouted the principle...

  7. 3 The Origins of the Cold War, 1943–1952 THE ANATOMY OF A LONG CRISIS
    (pp. 112-169)

    The Cold War is a crisis unusual in its long, slow, complex, and uneven unfolding. Yet it was to have powerful ramifications among, as well as within, states around the world. By early 1945 strains over the postwar settlement began to intrude into the Soviet-American alliance. As tension between the two sides mounted through the late 1940s, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin each sought to mobilize political and military resources at home and to enlist allies on a global scale. But direct U.S.-Soviet conflict did not result. Indeed, the chances for such a conflict diminished as Truman’s and Stalin’s successors...

  8. 4 The Sino-American Collision in Korea, 1948–1951 RIDING THE ROLLER COASTER
    (pp. 170-231)

    On 25 June 1950 North Korean forces invaded the south, and before the year was out both the United States and China had intervened in the peninsular conflict to protect their respective Korean allies. Washington and then Beijing set off on a dramatic roller-coaster ride. Alarmed by developments on the peninsula, first one, then the other reluctantly climbed on board. Once underway, each in turn experienced exhilaration over the prospect of an unexpected victory. But when that victory eluded their grasp, Chinese and Americans found themselves plunged into intensified conflict. Shaken by the careening ride, leaders in each country looked...

  9. 5 Managing the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1961–1963 MODEL OR MUDDLE?
    (pp. 232-295)

    The confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union is well established as a classic foreign policy crisis. It summoned up in the minds of participants the nightmare of all-out nuclear war, and forced both sides to make life-and-death decisions quickly and under conditions of psychological wear and tear that grew greater as the crisis consumed one week and extended into another. Then with the same suddenness that it had appeared, the crisis came to a resolution—to the relief of tension-wracked policymakers in Moscow and Washington.

    In the United States the Cuban missile crisis has...

  10. 6 Going to War in Vietnam, 1950–1965 A TEST OF WILLS
    (pp. 296-364)

    Vietnam was not one crisis but a string of crises that plagued American presidents for twenty-five years. Each crisis was provoked by the relentless Vietnamese pursuit of national liberation. Each forced on Washington a fresh appraisal of its commitment to resist “communism” in the region. And each ended with more territory and population slipping away from the “free world.” Step by step forces led by Ho Chi Minh closed off the easy choices for American policymakers caught between a strong aversion to fighting another war on the Asian mainland and an equally strong aversion to suffering a humiliating retreat. It...

  11. 7 Confronting Revolution in Iran, 1953–1980 THE PERILS OF MODERNIZATION
    (pp. 365-413)

    In the late 1940s and early 1950s Iran emerged as an important point on the Cold War containment line. American policymakers came to regard internal political stability and economic development in that country as an indispensable check on Soviet-sponsored subversion. As a consequence, they plunged deeply into Iran's internal affairs, with Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi serving as the chief instrument for this U.S. policy. They restored him to power in 1953 and vigorously backed him as the agent of progress. He was to promote industrialization, Western education, and other initiatives that would bring his country into the modern world, and...

  12. 8 Afterthoughts
    (pp. 414-436)

    Readers who have moved methodically through this book to reach this point find themselves—perhaps without realizing it—in an extraordinarily privileged position. They have survived more crises than any policymaker can hope or would want to see in a lifetime. Readers have witnessed those crises, moreover, from a better vantage point than that afforded any of the individual participants. Blinded by passion, engulfed in confusion, and plagued by accidents, the individuals controlling the levers of state power frequently embroiled themselves in diplomatic quarrels and sometimes armed encounters, even major wars. Readers are in a position to see how easily...

    (pp. 437-440)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 441-448)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 449-449)