From Wealth to Power by Fareed Zakaria

1010 Words5 Pages
During the 1890’s the United States saw a surge in its interests abroad. Before this decade, the U.S. government never asserted their influence over foreign nations as strongly and rapidly. It was a turning point in the history of U.S. foreign policy and two scholars, Fareed Zakaria and Peter Trubowitz, provide very different explanations as to why the United States adapted a new foreign policy and acquired territory abroad in the 1890’s. These dissimilar theories use unique units of analysis to examine this period in American history that provide interesting explanations as to why this decade saw such a heightened level of U.S. influence throughout the world. Zakaria’s hypothesis, state-centered realism, better explains why the United States obtained foreign territory in the 1890’s than Trubowitz’s explanation because central decision makers hold the power to act on foreign policy where diverse regional interests throughout the United States merely help shape what the national interest in foreign policy is without holding the power to put it in action. Fareed Zakaria argues in his book From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role that “statesmen will expand the nation’s political interests abroad when they perceive a relative increase in state power, not national power” (Zakaria, 35). Zakaria believes that central decision-makers are responsible for seeing these shifts in relative power of the United States and choose to increase the power of the nation as resources permit. His theory is based on the President and his administration as this central decision-maker and how their views on America’s strength as a state shape foreign policy. Zakaria thinks that the United States acquired these territories becau... ... middle of paper ... ...e importance of central decision-makers and their role in using state power to assert influence abroad when the state is perceived to have the capabilities to do so. Peter Trubowitz also provides a compelling explanation through his evaluation of domestic regional differences shaping foreign policy, but it cannot completely explain why the United States seized foreign territory after years of isolationism. Ultimately, Zakaria provides the more convincing explanation for this sudden surge in American foreign policy during this decade through his analysis of state-centered realism. Works Cited Trubowitz, Peter. Defining the National Interest: Conflict and Change in American Foreign Policy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998. Zakaria, Fareed. From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

More about From Wealth to Power by Fareed Zakaria

Open Document