The Role of Philosophy in American Foreign Relations: John Fousek’s "To Lead the Free World"

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John Fousek’s book To Lead the Free World, offers a remarkable perspective on the role philosophy played in American foreign relations. Indeed, the beginnings of the Cold War helped to shape American global nationalism ideology, which has been rooted in the “White Anglo-Saxon” philosophy, that the U.S. was destined to rule the world. In developing his thesis, Fousek focuses on the cultural context in which policymakers worked, and how the Cold War policy consistency developed through perceptions, relevance and its impact on foreign relations. He did a thorough analysis on some of the more intriguing speeches of Harry S. Truman on U.S. foreign policy; and the role the press, which helped in the spreading of American nationalist beliefs. Fousek argues that American nationalism, and its nationalistic symbolism of American world power, remains an area that has been forgotten in one’s true understanding of the Cold War’s origin, and thus his reason for writing the book. (p.15). Fousek’s narrates how Truman deliberately fomented a war scare during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which created a rapid increase in military spending, and heightened the public’s mood on the threat of Communism. Consequently, with the help of the press Truman maximizes this support by creating a nationalist view on American foreign policy. Indeed, the support of two of the major labor unions such as the (United Auto Workers and the United Electrical Workers) helped to reinforce the president’s message to the public. Fouseck argued that since the era of WWII, American foreign policy was more “internationalist” or global, rather than one of total dominance since the U.S. had earlier adopted a policy of isolation. He argues that American nationalism ... ... middle of paper ... ...Eisenhower administration was able to exploit this? The Cold War was such a period of intense competition, that it would be impossible to cover all aspects of it in a single volume. All in all, this was a most interesting book which dealt heavily on all aspects of American ideology, and the struggle to contain the USSR, and its Marxist ideology, which posed a threat to the U.S. democratic values. Fousek did a brilliant job in covering all the key players, in the fight, and this demonstrates his superior analytical skills by being able to synchronize all the events during the Cold War. However, he failed to elaborate on the major debates between the labor unions (WAW and UE) which might have contributed more abundantly to his book. His book thus offers us a thorough understanding of the Cold War, and should be adapted by all history and political science students.

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