Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World

Special Providence American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World God has a special providence for fools drunks and the United States of America Otto von Bismarck America s response to the September attacks spotlighted many of the country s longstanding goals on

  • Title: Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World
  • Author: Walter Russell Mead
  • ISBN: 9780415935364
  • Page: 201
  • Format: Paperback
  • God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America Otto von Bismarck America s response to the September 11 attacks spotlighted many of the country s longstanding goals on the world stage to protect liberty at home, to secure America s economic interests, to spread democracy in totalitarian regimes and to vanquish the enemy utterly One of God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America Otto von Bismarck America s response to the September 11 attacks spotlighted many of the country s longstanding goals on the world stage to protect liberty at home, to secure America s economic interests, to spread democracy in totalitarian regimes and to vanquish the enemy utterly One of America s leading foreign policy thinkers, Walter Russell Mead, argues that these diverse, conflicting impulses have in fact been the key to the U.S s success in the world In a sweeping new synthesis, Mead uncovers four distinct historical patterns in foreign policy, each exemplified by a towering figure from our past Wilsonians are moral missionaries, making the world safe for democracy by creating international watchdogs like the U.N Hamiltonians likewise support international engagement, but their goal is to open foreign markets and expand the economy Populist Jacksonians support a strong military, one that should be used rarely, but then with overwhelming force to bring the enemy to its knees Jeffersonians, concerned primarily with liberty at home, are suspicious of both big military and large scale international projects A striking new vision of America s place in the world, Special Providence transcends stale debates about realists vs idealists and hawks vs doves to provide a revolutionary, nuanced, historically grounded view of American foreign policy.

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    About "Walter Russell Mead"

    1. Walter Russell Mead

      American academic He is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and previously taught American foreign policy at Yale University He is also the Editor at Large of The American Interest magazine and a Distinguished Scholar at the Hudson Institute.From 1997 to 2010, Mr Mead was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as the Henry A Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S Foreign Policy from 2003 until his departure.Mead writes regular essays at the website of the American Interest on a wide variety of subjects ranging from international affairs to religion, politics, culture, education and the media Over the years he has contributed to a wide variety of leading American journals ranging from Mother Jones and GQ to the Wall Street Journal He serves as a regular reviewer of books for Foreign Affairs and frequently appears on national and international radio and television programs.Mead is an honors graduate of Groton and Yale, where he received prizes for history, debate, and his translation of New Testament Greek He has traveled widely in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America, and often speaks at conferences in the United States and abroad He is a founding board member of New America, and also serves on the board of Freedom House.

    703 thoughts on “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World”

    1. Spoiler Alert! Walter Russell Mead’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in U.S. foreign policy. This book has the benefit of being clearly written, engaging, and at times even a little tongue-in-cheek. The book was so good that I read it twice. This isn’t a first impression review; it’s a second impression review. Mead’s examines the way four traditions shaped how America conducted its foreign affairs. At the heart of his books is the revisionist perspective that democracy does no [...]


    2. I've long been a reader of Walter Russell Mead's (WRM) blog, but without quite realising why. His politics always seemed different to my own, but I liked being provoked and somewhat led along the thoughtlines of this engaging writer.Thus, I'd been looking forward to reading this book for a while. I consider myself first & foremost a foreign policy scholar and what nation after my own is more interesting to see under the disciplinary microscope than the US. I'd also heard a lecture while I wa [...]


    3. You've almost got to feel sorry for W.R. Mead; the book was released in March 2001. My hunsband's reaction upon glancing at the book was to dismiss it as irrelevant to our current world and events. I decided to take a longer historical view and I'm glad I did.The strongest parts of the book were the beginning and the end. At the start, the writer tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out to me that what I had believed to be true about American foreign policy might not mesh well with the actual f [...]


    4. I wasn't quite sure how to rate this book. The introductory chapters usefully refute many common and widely accepted myths about American foreign policy in a spirited, engaging style. But the heart of book -- Mead's four school approach -- is far less convincing and useful.


    5. Best book I’ve read in quite some time. WRM takes very complicated subject and presents it in a palatable heuristic to describe the different schools of American foreign policy, without losing the granularity that each school deserves. Top notch job!


    6. This was an excellent overview of the four dominant schools that have impacted US foreign policy over the past 200 years. Meade seemingly called the populist wave that Trump rode in on back in 2002.


    7. Smartest guy around on foreign policy, so read whatever you can that Mead has written.He divides foreign policy approaches into:Hamiltonians - view the global economy on favorable terms, and the national govt. and big business can work together.Wilsonians - we have a moral obligation and national interest in spreading American valuesJeffersonians - preserve democracy at home and worry less about it abroad, fear both big govt. and big businessJacksonians - populist focus on physical security and [...]


    8. Absolute must read for anyone trying to understand American foreign policy in particular and American politics in general in the age of Trump. It's amazing how Professor Mead managed to predict so much of 2016 in 2001. Indians would do well to rely on this paradigm to understand American foreign policy than the tired old tropes of Democrat and Republican.


    9. Brilliant. Everybody who needs a primer on American foreign policy (and I'd carry this over to domestic policy, too)--whether you're a native or not--should read this book because Dr. Mead, with his four excellent models has explained it beautifully. He takes 98 pages to tee it up (and the introduction definitely holds your attention), then launches into a superb explanation of each model. An intelligent person can find something to embrace and something to send back to the kitchen in each. Hami [...]


    10. This is a history of American foreign policy. The framework of the discussion is in the context of four general "schools" of American foreign policy the author coined: Hamiltonian, Wilsonian (anachronistically named after Woodrow Wilson), Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian (as in Andrew Jackson). The author describes the evolution of the schools since the early republic through the beginning of the global war on terror. The most interesting aspect I had not seen discussed before, but the universalizin [...]


    11. Mead's book, a review of US foreign policy since the founding, was published months before 9/11 and one might ignore it for that reason. But I found it highly relevant to the current debates on foreign affairs. Mead acknowledges that the US approach to statecraft is not as "sophisticated" as how the Europeans practice it. But, he argues, it has been very successful for the most part. He identifies four stream of foreign policy in the US - Hamiltonian (taking a commercial approach to external aff [...]


    12. Perhaps the single best book out there on the theory of American foreign policy. Mead constructs an outline of US strategic culture built around principles of American exceptionalism, historical isolationism, and strong patriotism. Distinguishing four specific subcultures--Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jacksonian, and Jeffersonian--that differ only in terms of the relative emphasis they place on these core values, Mead provides an historical explanation of how these schools of thought affect the goals [...]


    13. An incredibly thorough book that looks at U.S. foreign policy from all angles while dispelling previous myths that the United States has been weak on foreign policy all along. Mead brilliantly breaks down U.S. FP into 4 schools of thought that seemingly also apply at home. A great book that clearly defines how people look at different international situations from the United States perspective. I'm designing a high school elective around this book and am glad that I choose it. Definitely is the [...]


    14. This is the best book I've read about American foreign policy. Mead describes four "traditions" that have been at work throughout the history of the United States in guiding her foreign relations, and does an excellent job explaining how domestic politics affects foreign policy (a subject that too few books spend time on). It is a testament to the strength of Mead's ideas in the book that something written just before 9/11 can still be used to make sense of the way the United States forms her fo [...]


    15. Fantastic book, providing analogies and frameworks that have stayed with me (among the best of them, 19th and 20th century Euros fighting it out like scorpions in a bottle while the Brits, later Yanks, looked on). Presidential legacies and American foreign policy schools of thought that follow them: Hamiltonians (mercantilists), Wilsonians (crusaders), Jeffersonians (skeptics), and Jacksonians (god bless 'em!). A rare five star.


    16. Takes the myth of American isolationism prior to WWI and does its best to debunk it. The main thesis is that US foreign policy is much more sophisticated than often given credit for, and that the commercial aspects of US policy long dominated decision making. So while the US wasn't worrying about who won what war in Europe during the 1800s, it spent its energies ensuring freedom of the seas, open markets, and non-European intervention in the West. Worth your time if you're a nerd like moi.


    17. Highly recommend this book for anyone interested in American foreign policy and how it has evolved over time. His four schools - Hamiltonians, Wilsonians, Jeffersonians, and Jacksonians - explain a lot. A really central and important work. Why can't he be a professor I can study under to get my Ph.D.? He's got it all figured out


    18. Very interesting, it could have been written a little better and had the ideas be more fluid. Very ecominic heavy (he is primarily an economist). Lots of articles and podcasts about this book and by the author. Very interesting debates.


    19. I used this book frequently in American foreign policy classes from about 2005 through 2010. Mean provides an interesting framework for analyzing USFP, emphasizing historical allegiances and tensions among Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian advocates.


    20. Essential reading on U.S. foreign policy traditions, this book introduced me to understand the complex and competing visions of Americas role in the world: Hamiltonian commercialism, Wilsonian missionary zeal, Jeffersonian isolationism and Jacksonian militarism.


    21. Read this for a seminar I attended at work. Fascinating discussion on the evolution of our foreign policy. Always fun to have an author make use of Bismark's famous quote that "there is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America."


    22. Excellent introduction to American foreign policy pre-9/11. Mead discusses American foreign policy over the course of the nation's history but also analyzes four distinct schools of policy that together have made up what was largely, though not painlessly, successful American foreign policy.



    23. Interesting for teaching high school APUSH even - succinct ideas about Wilsonians, Jeffersonians, Jacksonians, and Hamiltonians. Worth a second glance-through.


    24. Interesting to read about the Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian schools of thought and how they shape US Foreign Policy.



    25. A very informative look at how the United States has always been international in its focus, and the four different styles national foreign policy has taken over the years.


    26. interesting read. Mead lays out his theory on the four approaches to foreign policy thinking within america: Jacksonian, Jeffersonian, Wilsonian and Hamiltonian.


    27. "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America."-- Otto Von Bismarck


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