NEARING THE CROSSROADS: Contending Approaches to American Foreign Policy by Reynold Levy

NEARING THE CROSSROADS: Contending Approaches to American Foreign Policy

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Levy distinguishes two orientations in American foreign policy: the ""domesticists,"" who lean toward manipulation of the enemy rather than a system of alliances and a show of strength, and the ""systemists,"" who demand ""preparedness,"" maintenance of global ""commitments,"" and even use of tactical nuclear weapons. The first group is exemplified by George F. Kennan; the latter includes John Foster Dulles, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the ""megadeath"" theorist Herman Kahn. Laymen may have a certain difficulty distinguishing them so neatly; Levy himself observes that both outlooks are essentially based on anti-Communism, and, moreover, that a domesticist will yield to a systemist in a crisis situation. After the recent victories of the domesticists in forcing the president to pull out of Vietnam and in repealing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Levy foresees an automatic swing toward overt brinkmanship. Undoubtedly there are rival schools of thought in this business, but Levy has given the reader--the one who gets it in the neck--an index rather than a handle on what is really going on in the think tanks, the CIA or the Pentagon. Nor does he contribute to a sophisticated knowledge of how both kinds of foreign affairs spokesmen are used to keep ""the enemy"" psychologically off balance. The RANDy vocabulary makes some very dirty affairs like Indochina seem to be mere occasions for academic dispute.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1975
Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan