IDEOLOGY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY by Michael H. Hunt

IDEOLOGY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An examination of the precepts guiding US foreign policy throughout its history. Hunt (History/North Carolina) is author of The Making of a Special Relationship and Frontier Defense and the Open Door. In this book, he attempts to go beyond the two major strands of foreign policy analysis represented by George Kennan (who argued that America's moralist and legalist approach to international affairs was inappropriate, as the nation had neither the power nor the will to sustain it) and William Appleman Williams (who, where Kennan saw innocence, inconsistency, ethnocentrism, and ineptness, found rather hardheadedness, sophistication, strategic consistency, and technical adeptness). Hunt offers as his contribution to theoretics three elements that he believes have shaped American foreign policy. They are: 1), a mission-like zeal to promote liberty abroad; 2), a racial view that sees the world scene as a battle between the white Anglo-Saxons and the darker races; and 3), an ironic hostility toward revolutions, most of which are seen as divergent from the American standard. Starting out strongly, Hunt lets his preconceptions and prejudices. color his theory, however. He is hopelessly mired in the ""pre-ethnic"" era of American history and sees all 20th-century events as flowing from a Waspish incentive. This is as if to pretend that the hoards of darker immigrants had no ultimate influence on foreign policy. Obviously, if Hunt studied politics as thoroughly as he dissects foreign affairs, the ethnic influence would show. Similarly, he attacks as narrow-minded the official US mind-set on various 20th-century revolts, overlooking the good causes that many of these violent revolts represented. Rather, then, than forming the basis for a new ""Hunt"" school of foreign policy theory, Kennan and Williams still prevail, if even on their own shaky pilings.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press