ETHNICITY, RACE, AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY by Alexander DeConde

ETHNICITY, RACE, AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

A History
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Thoughtful examination of ``ethnoracial'' influences on US foreign policy from colonial times onward; by DeConde (History/UC Santa Barbara; Town and Gown--ed., 1971, etc.). DeConde examines in detail the influence of ethnic heritage on partisan politics, beginning with the failure of crucial French assistance in the Revolutionary War to break the ethnic bonding of Britain and the US. He also explores the impact on US policy by slave owners during the period after the Haitian slave revolution; Irish attempts to sway US diplomacy away from British policies and toward home rule; German-American attempts to rally support during the Samoa dispute; and the consequences of the New Orleans riots of 1891, in which 11 Italians and Italian-Americans were killed. (Theodore Roosevelt spoke of the deaths as ``a rather good thing'' and boasted of them, as he put it, before ``various dago diplomats''; indemnification came only after Italy broke off diplomatic relations.) Always in the background is the dominance of the Anglo-American power elite, as well as the highly charged issue of national identity: How can a melting-pot that no longer culturally integrates growing ethnic groups (Hispanics, for example) maintain coherent purpose and direction? The possibilities are analyzed via the concessions in policy and foreign aid successfully demanded by the Jewish-American lobby. DeConde writes about foreign policy, but he pulls at a thread that hints at the unraveling of the centuries-old Anglo-American bonding that shaped national policy from colonial times through the cold war. Given the current massive flux of US ethnic makeup, then: a timely work.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1992
ISBN: 1-55553-133-4
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992