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American Foreign Policy Since World War II

American Foreign Policy Since World War II

20th Edition

Celebrating its 20th edition!

March 2015 | 432 pages | CQ Press
Hook and Spanier’s classic text celebrates its Twentieth Edition with more of the context and analysis that has long made it the standard for guiding students through the complexities of American foreign policy. With each new edition, recent developments confirm the book’s overarching theme—that there is an American “style” of foreign policy imbued with a distinct sense of national exceptionalism. Giving students the historical context they need, the book allows them to grasp the functions and frequent dysfunctions of the nation’s evolving foreign policy agenda. In this new edition, chapters covering the end of the Cold War have been combined and streamlined, making room for a new chapter that examines the aftershocks of the Arab Spring, political breakdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of the Islamic State. The final chapter considers the revival of power politics in world politics, with Russia and China stepping up their attempts to weaken the United States and create a multipolar world. The book ends by reconsidering America’s distinctive style of foreign policy and its resilience amid such turbulence since World War II. 
Chapter 1 The American Approach to Foreign Policy
Learning from Experience

The Roots of American Primacy

The American Sense of Destiny

Self-Doubts, Revisionism, and Social Construction

Part I: The Cold War
Chapter 2 From World War to Cold War
American Wartime Illusions

The Russo-Soviet Approach to Foreign Policy

Soviet Expansion after World War II

The Strategy of Containment

Declaring Cold War: The Truman Doctrine

Chapter 3 Containment: From Theory to Practice
New Economic and Military Structures

Reviving the Western European Allies

Confronting Revolution in East Asia

Domestic Pressures for a Global Crusade

Eisenhower’s ‘New Look’ in Foreign Policy

Chapter 4 North-South Tensions and the Vietnam War
Developing Countries in the Crossfire

Regional Conflicts in Latin America

Vietnam: The Limits of Containment

Chapter 5 Détente and World-Order Politics
Managing the Superpower Rivalry

Carter’s Quest for World Order

War and Peace in the Middle East

Blowback and the Soviet Power Play

Chapter 6 Breakthroughs in the Superpower Struggle
Reagan’s Rhetorical Offensive

Expanding U.S. Military Forces

‘Rollback’ in Developing Countries

Alliance Politics in the Late Cold War

From Confrontation to Conciliation

Chapter 7 The End of the Cold War
Bush’s Management of the Soviet Collapse

Endgame: The Collapse of the Core

Reasons for the Soviet Collapse

A Final Appraisal

Part II: The New World ‘Disorder’
Chapter 8 Old Tensions in a New Order
Great Expectations after the Cold War

Clinton’s Embrace of ‘Geoeconomics’

Sources of Global Fragmentation

War and Peace in the Middle East

The Plight of ‘Failed States’

Lessons from the Regional Crises

Chapter 9 The Shifting European Landscape
Western Europe: From Community to Union

Jump-Starting Democracy in Eastern Europe

NATO’s Search for a New Mission

‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in the Balkans

U.S.-Russian Relations under Stress

Chapter 10 America Under Fire
Strains in the Unipolar Order

The Growing Threat of ‘Sacred Terror’

Terror in the Morning Sky

Elements of Counterterrorism

A Grand Strategy of Primacy and Preemption

Chapter 11 Hot Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
The Afghanistan Campaign

The Pakistani Tinderbox

Renewed Hostilities against Iraq

Chapter 12 Looking Back, and Facing the Future
Flashbacks to Vietnam

Legacies of the Bush Era

Obama’s Call for “Renewal”

American Hegemony at Risk

Chapter 13 Aftershocks of the Arab Spring
Mass Demands for Democracy

Israel’s Quest for Internal Security

Iraq’s Collapse and the ISIS Challenge

The Afghan Muddle

Chapter 14 The Revival of Power Politics
Russia’s Declaration of Cold War II

China’s Pacific Challenge

Ongoing Threats of Nuclear Proliferation

Rethinking American Power


“I have never assigned a book in my thirty years of college teaching that receives as high an evaluation from students as Hook and Spanier’s American Foreign Policy since World War II. The reason why students like the book is that it is very well-written and provides a fast-paced account of the history of U.S. foreign policy.”

Timothy White
Xavier University

“I have used Hook and Spanier’s text both in courses on foreign policy and the United States since 1945, and both specialists and non-specialists found it useful.  It is thorough and does a good job of incorporating new evidence. It provides an excellent study of post-World War II foreign policy.”

Richard Filipink
Western Illinois University

“Hook and Spanier’s text has been one of my most used and most reliable textbooks. Its chronological approach to the study of American foreign policy is one of its major strengths, making it easy to follow and most logical.”

Leo Joseph Weeks
University of West Florida

“I consider Hook and Spanier’s book to be the most useful survey of post-WWII American foreign policy for undergraduates. I particularly appreciate the authors’ incorporation of competing interpretations of major foreign policy events.”

Alexei Shevchenko
California State University, Fullerton

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 14

Steven Wallace Hook

Steven W. Hook is professor of political science at Kent State University. In addition to this book, he is co-author of American Foreign Policy Since World War II (CQ Press, 2019, 21st ed., with John Spanier) and author of National Interest and Foreign Aid (Lynne Rienner, 1995). His edited books include U.S. Foreign Policy Today: American Renewal? (CQ Press, 2012, with James M. Scott), the Routledge Handbook of American Foreign Policy (Routledge Press, 2012, with Christopher M. Jones), and Democratic Peace in Theory and Practice (Kent State University Press, 2010). His journal articles have appeared in World Politics, International Studies... More About Author

John Winston Spanier

John Spanier received his PhD from Yale University. Since joining the faculty of the University of Florida in 1957, Spanier has lectured at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, the Naval War College, military service academies, and several universities. Among his many other books is Games Nations Play.  More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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ISBN: 9781483368535