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U.S. Foreign Policy and the Other

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Other

Michael Patrick Cullinane
David Ryan
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    U.S. Foreign Policy and the Other
    Book Description:

    John Quincy Adams warned Americans not to search abroad for monsters to destroy, yet such figures have frequently habituated the discourses of U.S. foreign policy. This collection of essays focuses on counter-identities in American consciousness to explain how foreign policies and the discourse surrounding them develop. Whether it is the seemingly ubiquitous evil of Hitler during World War II or the more complicated perceptions of communism throughout the Cold War, these essays illuminate the cultural contexts that constructed rival identities. The authors challenge our understanding of "others," looking at early applications of the concept in the eighteenth century to recent twenty-first century conflicts, establishing how this phenomenon is central to decision making through centuries of conflict.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-440-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)
    Michael Patrick Cullinane and David Ryan

    After World War II, U.S. identity faced severe dilemmas. Its constructed image—the power, the arsenal for democracy, representing liberty, self-determination, and economic liberalism—found itself closely allied with and cooperating with a range of European colonial empires reluctant to cede power in Asia and Africa. Moreover, Washington was quick to cultivate a dualistic image of the world, positing two ways of life that represented a defining choice in world history.

    That construction was advanced in the Truman Doctrine of 1947 and elided the ties with European colonialism as it focused on the new other, the Soviet Union. The Cold...

  4. Chapter 1 “No Savage Shall Inherit the Land”: The Indian Enemy Other, Indiscriminate Warfare, and American National Identity, 1607–1783
    (pp. 16-41)
    Walter L. Hixson

    American conceptions of the other are inherent in the binary world view of expansive European modernity in which civilization encountered savagery.¹ On the North American frontier, identification of the Indian as an enemy other fueled indiscriminate warfare, establishing a pattern of behavior that would play out continuously in subsequent American history.² As the primary and quintessential American other, Indians proved central to forging national identity—not merely through their existence but rather through their resistance and removal.

    The interrelationship between perceptions of the Indian other and the continuous campaigns of often-indiscriminate warfare waged against the indigenous population from the beginning...

  5. Chapter 2 Alterity and the Production of Identity in the Early Modern British American Empire and the Early United States
    (pp. 42-58)
    Jack P. Greene

    During a House of Commons debate in November 1775 over what, in light of its army’s misadventures in Massachusetts the previous spring, Britain should do to deal with colonial resistance to parliamentary authority, William Innes, MP for Ilchester, spoke at length in favor of strong coercive measures. Emphatically questioning whether the colonists were even “the offspring of Englishmen, and as such entitled to the privileges of Britons,” he denounced them rather as a promiscuous “mixture of people” who consisted “not only … of English, Scots, and Irish, but also of French, Dutch, Germans innumerable, Indians, Africans, and a multitude of...

  6. Chapter 3 Identity, Alterity, and the “Growing Plant” of Monroeism in U.S. Foreign Policy Ideology
    (pp. 59-78)
    Marco Mariano

    During his bid for reelection in the fall of 1940, while war was disrupting Europe, Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to focus his Columbus Day speech on hemispheric defense and Pan-American unity. From a train platform he explained to his audience in Dayton, Ohio, that the offensive of the Axis powers in Europe prompted an immediate response by the United States. and the Latin American republics; a joint effort was needed to stop Nazi and Fascist infiltration in the Americas and to mobilize military resources for a total defense of the Western Hemisphere.

    As it was often the case in his...

  7. Chapter 4 Consumerist Geographies and the Politics of Othering
    (pp. 79-103)
    Kristin Hoganson

    As U.S. overseas interests expanded around the turn of the twentieth century, so did understandings of the wider world. Missionaries, government agents, explorers, and academic experts played notable roles in producing geographical knowledge, much of it aimed at expanding U.S. power, whether political, economic, or cultural.¹ But these were not the only or even the most influential sources of information on other peoples and places. Consumerist geographies—produced by cookbook writers, high society gossip columnists, entertainment entrepreneurs, catalog authors, and countless other contributors to popular culture—also shaped conceptions of the other.

    In a time period when the National Geographic...

  8. Chapter 5 Others Ourselves: The American Identity Crisis after the War of 1898
    (pp. 104-123)
    Michael Patrick Cullinane

    The War of 1898 and subsequent Philippine-American War were important events in the conception of American identity and foreign policy. As a consequence of these wars, the geography and demographics of the United States changed. Acquisition reshaped American jurisdiction, extending the reach of U.S. sovereignty to the Far East and further into the Caribbean. Ten million Filipinos and two million Puerto Ricans, after 1898, came under the sway of American authority. The expansion simultaneously occurred at a time of national transformation at home, making the acquisition of territory part of a broader reimagination of American identity. Americans asked themselves probing...

  9. Chapter 6 The Others in Wilsonianism
    (pp. 124-141)
    Lloyd Ambrosius

    President Woodrow Wilson affirmed modern liberalism as the foundation for America’s foreign policy when he led the United States into World War I. Liberal ideals, that he proclaimed as potentially applicable throughout the world, should define America’s wartime purposes and guide its postwar peacemaking. In his war message he called for making the world “safe for democracy.” In subsequent speeches he outlined his vision of a new world order that, he hoped, would replace the old, discredited European order that had collapsed in 1914. The president’s liberal vision, later known as Wilsonianism, was apparently universal. His rhetoric suggested that it...

  10. Chapter 7 The Nazis and U.S. Foreign Policy Debates: History, Lessons, and Analogies
    (pp. 142-162)
    Michaela Hoenicke Moore

    Hitler and the Nazis are ubiquitous in American culture.¹ Setting aside the realm of popular culture and considering only political references, we find Nazi comparisons in American domestic political debates from the 1930s through today. In accordance with their main purpose one can distinguish between diagnostic, justificatory, and slanderous analogies evoking Hitler or Nazism. The latter category predominates in the domestic realm and includes the Tea Party’s 2010 Obama-Hitler comparison. Shocking as such equations are to people who know something about the Third Reich, they are, in fact, as old as the Nazis themselves; although one could add as extenuating...

  11. Chapter 8 How Eleanor Roosevelt’s Orientalism Othered the Palestinians
    (pp. 163-184)
    Geraldine Kidd

    Eleanor Roosevelt described it as one of her most impressive experiences when, in May 1949, she watched as the blue and white flag of Israel was raised to join the array at the United Nations headquarters at Lake Success, New York.¹ The announcement of the creation of the state of Israel by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on 14 May 1948 had marked the formal partition of Palestinian territory. Its bifurcation meant the achievement of a pair of Eleanor Roosevelt’s passionately held goals: the fulfillment of the fifty-year-old Zionist ambition, and the realization of an important UN milestone.

    It also reflected...

  12. Chapter 9 Necessary Constructions: The Other in the Cold War and After
    (pp. 185-207)
    David Ryan

    After the shock of 9/11 there was little surprise or questioning expressed regarding the binary construction that President Bush deployed. That night, he recorded in his diary: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.” Over the subsequent days he would repeat such formulae, which wove through his immediate reactions. The use of these words, combined with “infamy,” resonated throughout U.S. culture; the references, the sentiment, the intentions were obvious. In November 2001 he invoked the Holocaust, and by January 2002 the infamous “Axis of Evil” speech overlooked actualities in favor of a rhetorical gambit he knew many...

  13. Chapter 10 Obliterating Distance: The Vietnam War Photography of Philip Jones Griffiths
    (pp. 208-221)
    Liam Kennedy

    The geopolitical imperatives of the American worldview—an “exceptional” conjunction of democratic and imperial impulses—have long promoted assumptions and rationalized perceptions about liberal governance and military intervention. This worldview is supported by a “politics of visual abstraction” within which “people are represented and rationalized as types and symbols”—as others, to be framed and defined in terms of U.S. national interest.¹ As such, it promotes a moral economy that is fueled by abstract principles of liberal humanitarianism, individual freedom, and democratic participation. Focused on the representation of distant others, this moral economy defines categories of human need and harm,...

  14. Chapter 11 Remnants of Empire: Civilization, Torture, and Racism in the War on Terrorism
    (pp. 222-234)
    Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

    Wars are not fought in a cultural vacuum. They are not sterile; they do not occur under laboratory conditions. Wars are polluted by cultural artifacts, sets of norms, institutions, and ideology. It is this normative context that establishes the trenches according to which friend and enemy are distinguished. In the “war on terror,” begun in Afghanistan in 2001 and spread to Iraq in 2003, this fundamental distinction between “us” and “them,” civilization and barbarity, has determined the way the war has been fought, legitimized, and sold to a skeptical public. From the outset, George W. Bush was clear about the...

  15. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 235-237)
  16. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 238-240)
  17. Index
    (pp. 241-244)