By John A. Thompson

Why has the USA assumed so broad and expensive a job in global affairs during the last hundred years? the 2 commonest solutions to this query are "because it will possibly" and "because it had to." Neither solution will do, in accordance with this hard re-evaluation of ways that the USA got here to imagine its international position. The country's substantial fiscal assets gave it the capability to workout nice impact in another country, yet american citizens have been lengthy reluctant to fulfill the prices of wielding that energy. Neither the country's security from overseas assault nor its monetary wellbeing and fitness required the fulfillment of bold overseas coverage objectives.

In A feel of Power, John A. Thompson takes a protracted view of America's dramatic upward push as an international strength, from the overdue 19th century into the post–World warfare II period. How, and extra importantly why, has the US come to play this sort of dominant function in global affairs? there's, he argues, no easy solution. Thompson demanding situations traditional causes of America's involvement in international battle I and global conflict II, seeing neither the necessities of nationwide safeguard nor monetary pursuits as choosing. He indicates how American leaders from Wilson to Truman built an ever extra capacious figuring out of the nationwide curiosity, and why by way of the Forties such a lot americans got here to aid the associated fee tag, in blood and treasure, connected to strenuous efforts to form the area. The ideals and feelings that led them to take action mirrored precise facets of U.S. tradition, now not least the energy of ties to Europe. recognition of the nation’s certain energy fostered emotions of accountability, entitlement, and aspiration one of the humans and leaders of the United States.

This unique research demanding situations a few generally held ideals in regards to the determinants of usa overseas coverage and may carry new perception to modern debates approximately no matter if the kingdom should―or must―play so energetic an element in global politics.

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Canada has been a particularly important source of supply—notably, of nickel, one of the few minerals the United States has lacked. 93 Oil has, of course, come to be an obvious exception to this lack of dependence on raw material imports—although in this respect, too, the United States has remained much closer to a position of self-sufficiency than most other industrial countries. Nevertheless, its need in recent decades for an uninterrupted flow of plentiful supplies of imported oil at a reasonable price can be seen as the unique example of an overseas economic interest of clear national importance.

62 Certainly, the term national security has often been used in American writings and speeches to cover much more than the protection of the United States itself from external attack. ”63 The argument here is that the United States could not be truly secure in a hostile and unruly world. Therefore, it needs to concern itself with the nature of the regimes in other countries and with upholding norms of international conduct. Among the arguments for including these concerns in the category of security requirements is the assertion that the nation’s “core values” of democracy and the free enterprise system would be hard to sustain if they were confined to North America.

There was nothing new about these impulses and attitudes in themselves; the novel element was consciousness of the nation’s power and the belief that this brought with it a moral obligation. “We cannot refuse to accept this responsibility which the God of the universe has placed upon us as the one great power in the New World,” declared John M. ), weeping as he reported to the Senate on a fact-finding mission to the island. But it was a less high-minded sense of the respect that the United States could expect to receive from other powers that finally precipitated the conflict.

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A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role by John A. Thompson
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