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It’s foreign policy, stupid

The collapse of communism has not led the US back to isolationism. Instead, argues Godfrey Hodgson, it has launched a new era of missionary interventionism-for the benefit of domestic audiences, not the US's allies

By Godfrey Hodgson   January 1996

Since the end of history in 1989 it has been assumed that the 50 years of American involvement in world affairs were about to come to an end, or at least, that the US would be less willing to bear the burdens and pay the costs that President Kennedy had demanded. Was isolationism on the way back? Michael Cox, the author of this thoughtful paper (US Foreign Policy after the Cold War, Chatham House, 1995), is too shrewd for such simplicities. Instead, he begins from the premise that the US is “a superpower without a mission.”

Cox’s seven central chapters,…

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