Ideology and U.S Foreign Policy

Michael H. Hunt

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September 10, 1988
237 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
32 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300043693
Paper

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In a major reinterpretation of American diplomatic history, Michael H. Hunt argues that there is an ideology that has shaped American foreign policy—an ideology based on a conception of national mission, on the racial classification of other peoples, and on hostility toward social revolutions—and he traces its rise and impact from the eighteenth century down to the present day.  

“Michael Hunt effectively analyzes the mental prisms through which perceptions of the American national interest are refracted.  Policymakers will find his book provocative.  All Americans who care about their country’s place in the world will find it worth reading.”—Rep. Stephen Solarz

“Three ‘core ideas’ of American political culture, according to Mr. Hunt, have powerfully molded American diplomacy, and they form the heart of his analysis.  These ideas concern the questions of revolution, race and, most interestingly, liberty…. On the subject of liberty… Mr. Hunt is supple and suggestive. … Mr. Hunt’s examination of the conflation of liberty and greatness helps us understand the ideological genesis of the Reagan Doctrine, with is open-ended support for anti-Communist movements everywhere.”—David M. Kennedy, New York Times Book Review

“A lean, plain-spoken treatment of a grand subject…. A bold piece of criticism and advocacy…. The tight focus of the argument may insure its survival as one of the basic postwar critiques of U.S. policy.”—John W. Dower, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Michael H. Hunt is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"This excellent extended essay is gracefully written, intelligently organized, and persuasively argued."—Marilyn Young
 

  

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 


 
 
 

 
 

"Michael Hunt effectively analyzes the mental prisms through which perceptions of the American national interest are refracted. Policymakers will find his book provocative. All Americans who care about their country's place in the world will find it worth reading."—Rep. Stephen Solarz

"Hunt's idea of the American attitude, from the late eighteenth century to the present, is of a three-part system of self-congratulatory promotion of liberty abroad, a tendency to view others on the basis of a racial hierarchy, and a profound antipathy to social revolution. The book is clearly written and historically sound. The analysis 'works' when applied, for example, to the Vietnam War or current policy toward Central America."—Gaddis Smith, Foreign Affairs

"A work of intellectual vigor and daring, impressive in its scholarship and imaginative in its use of material."—Ronald Steel, Reviews in American History

"The deepest American values, according to Mr. Hunt's sober argument, have often inspired aggressive American foreign policies designed to impose 'liberty' on people who didn't necessarily want it."—New York Times Book Review


"Should be read by everyone interested in the basic wellsprings of American foreign policy. The reader will find it an insightful and challenging experience."—Clark W. Maser, Booknotes

"Three 'core ideas' of American political culture, according to Mr. Hunt, have powerfully molded American diplomacy, and they form the heart of his analysis. These ideas concern the questions of revolution, race and, most interestingly, liberty. . . . On the subject of liberty . . . Mr. Hunt is supple and suggestive. . . . Mr. Hunt's examination of the conflation of liberty and greatness helps us understand the ideological genesis of the Reagan Doctrine, with its open-ended support for anti-Communist movements everywhere."—David M. Kennedy, New York Times Book Review

"A lean, plain-spoken treatment of a grand subject. . . . A bold piece of criticism and advocacy. . . . The right focus of the argument may insure its survival as one of the basic postwar critiques of U.S. policy."—John W. Dower, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"An interesting and provocative book. . . . [It] is presented cogently and persuasively in smooth flowing prose that if buttressed and enlivened by myriad quotations from the extensive literature on U.S. foreign policy that he has so clearly mastered."—Robert Spencer, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
 

"A provocative essay on the mental prism through which American perception of national interest have been traditionally refracted. It is a tightly organized book, and propitiously illuminates the highly ideological nature of the Carter and Reagan administrations. . . . A major reinterpretation of American diplomatic history."—Journal of Peace Research

"Hunt ranges across the whole of American history to uncover the attitudes which he identifies as a core ideology."—Charles Townshend, Times Literary Supplement

"A masterpiece of historical compression. . . . Hunt's historical analysis not only exposes certain deeply embedded notions governing America's behavior abroad; it also buttresses his case for a restrained policy that will 'not be a vehicle for the pursuit of national greatness abroad but a buffer against outside shocks and threats to our pursuit of greatness at home.'"—Wilson Quarterly

"[This book] is subtle, sophisticated and skillfully done, providing a useful definition of the origins and structure of an American ideology."—Jamie W. Moore, The Historian


"In this elegant essay, Michael H. Hunt argues that twentieth-century American foreign policy has been shaped by an ideology that had already been developed by 1900."—John A. Thompson, Journal of American Studies

"A valuable book. Hunt takes a clear position at the outset and maintains it throughout a work of wide scope."—Dorothy V. Jones, Journal of American History

"An elegant and thoughtful book."—A. E. Campbell, The Historical Association

"A brilliant essay. . . . [T]he best analysis to date of the relationship of ideology to United States foreign policy."—Richard E. Welch, Jr, Pacific Historical Review


"This book is unique . . . in tracing twentieth-century dilemmas and frustrations to earlier ideological origins."—Akira Iriye, American Historical Review

"Elegant and thoughtful."—A.E. Campbell, History: Reviews of New Books

"A polished and fluent argument, . . . backed up with a really excellent bibliographical essay which positively tempts the reader to investigate further."—The American Politics Group Newsletter

“[One of] the most influential overviews of U.S. foreign policy.”—Foreign Policy
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