Between December 1953 and June 1954, the elite think-tank the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) joined prominent figures in International Relations, including Pennsylvania’s Robert Strausz-Hupé, Yale’s Arnold Wolfers, the Rockefeller Foundation’s William Thompson, government adviser Dorothy Fosdick, and nuclear strategist William Kaufmann. They spent seven meetings assessing approaches to world politics—from the “realist” theory of Hans Morgenthau to theories of imperialism of Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin—to discern basic elements of a theory of international relations.
The study group’s materials are an indispensable window to the development of IR theory, illuminating the seeds of the theory-practice nexus in Cold War U.S. foreign policy. Historians of International Relations recently revised the standard narrative of the field’s origins, showing that IR witnessed a sharp turn to theoretical consideration of international politics beginning around 1950, and remained preoccupied with theory. Taking place in 1953–54, the CFR study group represents a vital snapshot of this shift.
This book situates the CFR study group in its historical and historiographical contexts, and offers a biographical analysis of the participants. It includes seven preparatory papers on diverse theoretical approaches, penned by former Berkeley political scientist George A. Lipsky, followed by the digest of discussions from the study group meetings. American Power and International Theory at the Council on Foreign Relations, 1953–54 offers new insights into the early development of IR as well as the thinking of prominent elites in the early years of the Cold War.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan convinced many policymakers and scholars that the United States should pull back in international affairs and that restraint should guide grand strategy. Paul D. Miller offers a tough-minded critique of this trending body of thought, arguing that US security in fact depends on active, sustained support of the international liberal order.
Miller blends academic rigor with his experiences as former Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council to offer conservative internationalist prescriptions for US grand strategy. Dismissing claims of overextended US resources and perceived safety, Miller argues that nuclear autocracies, armed non-state actors, failed states, and the transnational jihadist movement still pose immense threats to American security and the international system. His analysis offers policy options for balancing against the nuclear autocracies, championing liberalism to maintain the balance of power in its favor, targeting militant non-state actors, investing in governance in weak and failed states, and strengthening homeland security. As Miller shows, these necessary steps will fortify the international liberal order that forms the outer perimeter of American security—and aid US efforts to craft a more just peace among nations.
Megan Black argues that the U.S. Department of the Interior, known for managing domestic natural resources and operating public parks, constantly supports and projects American power abroad. In the guise of sharing expertise globally, Interior has helped the U.S. maintain key benefits of empire without the burden of playing the imperialist villain.
No modern president has had as much influence on American national politics as Franklin D. Roosevelt. During FDR’s administration, power shifted from states and localities to the federal government; within the federal government it shifted from Congress to the president; and internationally, it moved from Europe to the United States. All of these changes required significant effort on the part of the president, who triumphed over fierce opposition and succeeded in remaking the American political system in ways that continue to shape our politics today. Using the metaphor of the good neighbor, Mary E. Stuckey examines the persuasive work that took place to authorize these changes. Through the metaphor, FDR’s administration can be better understood: his emphasis on communal values; the importance of national mobilization in domestic as well as foreign affairs in defense of those values; his use of what he considered a particularly democratic approach to public communication; his treatment of friends and his delineation of enemies; and finally, the ways in which he used this rhetoric to broaden his neighborhood from the limits of the United States to encompass the entire world, laying the groundwork for American ideological dominance in the post–World War II era.
Is there anything more American than the ideal of homeownership? In this groundbreaking work of transnational history, Nancy H. Kwak reveals how the concept of homeownership became one of America’s major exports and defining characteristics around the world. In the aftermath of World War II, American advisers urged countries to pursue greater access to homeownership, arguing it would give families a literal stake in their nations, jumpstart a productive home-building industry, fuel economic growth, and raise the standard of living in their countries, helping to ward off the specter of communism.
A World of Homeowners charts the emergence of democratic homeownership in the postwar landscape and booming economy; its evolution as a tool of foreign policy and a vehicle for international investment in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s; and the growth of lower-income homeownership programs in the United States from the 1960s to today. Kwak unravels all these threads, detailing the complex stories and policy struggles that emerged from a particularly American vision for global democracy and capitalism. Ultimately, she argues, the question of who should own homes where—and how—is intertwined with the most difficult questions about economy, government, and society.