Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy


Much about the world has changed since 1978, when this encyclopedia’s first edition appeared. The Soviet Union has dissolved, Yugoslavia has become a jigsaw puzzle of smaller states designed to keep ethnic conflict in check, an oil war raged briefly in the Persian Gulf, Eastern Europe has been freed to find its own way, Israeli and Palestinian leaders met on the White House lawn to sign a peace accord that is fading into memory, and China has experienced both brutal political repression and significant economic reform. The U.S. has had to adjust its foreign policy to fit this post-cold war world.

The revised Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy reflects the challenge the nation has faced in several ways. The most evident change is the updating of articles such as Balance of power (now briefly discussing George W. Bush’s rapid shift in September 2001 from unilateralism to collaboration); Cold War evolution and interpretations (noting the continuity between interpretations of the forces that fueled it and interpretations of its end); and Dissent in wars (noting the ambivalence of the U.S and its political leaders toward the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans). Indeed, it now takes four articles to cover the complexities of the origins and end of the cold war, whereas the first edition managed with just one. Thorough updating of history and the collateral changes in U.S. foreign policy theories and strategies is evident throughout.

The expanded encyclopedia also reflects changes through 48 new essays, among them African AmericansCultural imperialism, Gender, Multinational corporationsOuter spaceRefugee policies, and, of course, Terrorism and counterterrorism. Others have been dropped, including those dealing with conscription, detente, the Fourteen Points, the Truman Doctrine, the King Cotton theory, and missionaries. This list argues in favor of retention rather than disposal of the old edition.

Bibliographies have been thoroughly updated to account for new scholarship and thinking on enduring topics as well as to provide leads to additional resources on new ones. Most items include informative, brief descriptive annotations. See also references at the conclusion of each article also provide pointers for further exploration.

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Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy

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