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

By John A. Thompson

Why has the us assumed so huge and dear a task in global affairs over the past hundred years? the 2 most typical solutions to this query are "because it will probably" and "because it had to." Neither solution will do, in response to this demanding re-evaluation of ways that the United States got here to imagine its international position. The country's enormous fiscal assets gave it the skill to workout nice impact in a foreign country, yet americans have been lengthy reluctant to satisfy the prices of wielding that energy. Neither the country's defense from overseas assault nor its fiscal health and wellbeing required the success of formidable international coverage objectives.

In A experience of Power, John A. Thompson takes a protracted view of America's dramatic upward thrust as a global energy, from the overdue 19th century into the post–World conflict II period. How, and extra importantly why, has the United States come to play this sort of dominant position in global affairs? there's, he argues, no basic resolution. Thompson demanding situations traditional motives of America's involvement in global conflict I and international battle II, seeing neither the necessities of nationwide protection nor fiscal pursuits as choosing. He indicates how American leaders from Wilson to Truman constructed an ever extra capacious figuring out of the nationwide curiosity, and why by way of the Forties so much americans got here to aid the associated fee tag, in blood and treasure, hooked up to strenuous efforts to form the realm. The ideals and feelings that led them to take action mirrored specified features of U.S. tradition, now not least the energy of ties to Europe. cognizance of the nation’s precise 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 largely held ideals in regards to the determinants of usa international coverage and should deliver new perception to modern debates approximately no matter if the country should―or must―play so energetic a component in international politics.

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Security . . involves more than national survival,” the historian Melvyn P. Leffler insists. ”54 But this belief, too, is not self-explanatory. It might well be thought that a military posture that limited itself to making North America an uninviting target for attack would be less costly in terms of both resources and domestic liberty than the achievement of preponderant global power. As we have seen, the costs of the extensive role that the United States has assumed have not been slight. P.

The reality of the posited danger was too questionable. In the first place, there was the improbability of a single power gaining control of all Eurasia, let alone of the entire world beyond the Western Hemisphere. 51 Another would be the likelihood of nationalist resistance to any such exercise of imperialism. Second, even if this improbable eventuality were to come to pass, it is not clear that the consequences for American security would be so grievous. It would remain true that an amphibious transoceanic invasion is not a practical possibility in modern conditions, as Spykman acknowledged as early as 1941.

Involves more than national survival,” the historian Melvyn P. Leffler insists. ”54 But this belief, too, is not self-explanatory. It might well be thought that a military posture that limited itself to making North America an uninviting target for attack would be less costly in terms of both resources and domestic liberty than the achievement of preponderant global power. As we have seen, the costs of the extensive role that the United States has assumed have not been slight. P. ”57 It is perhaps not surprising that many of those—at both ends of the political spectrum—who have most feared the effects on American liberties of a “garrison state” have tended to oppose the extension of overseas military commitments.

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