Faculty Books
American Foreign Policy in an Era of Transition

American Foreign Policy in an Era of Transition



As this book goes to press five events during the last year dramatically illustrate the challenges confronting American foreign policy in the 1980s: the British-Argentine War in the South Atlantic, the Israeli battles with Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, upheaval in Central America, the 1982 Versailles Summit of Western heads-of-state, and the peril of nuclear war. The fierce fighting in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, and in Lebanon, as well as increasing military activities in Central America underscore the delicate balance of forces that separates war from peace-a precarious balance found in nearly every region of the world. The economic summit in Paris and President Reagan's subsequent visit to England, Italy, West Germany, and Belgium document the unprecedented levels of interdependence in economics, politics, and military affairs that bind the United States to the West, and Western Europe to America. Thus, the realities of war and peace in a world characterized by increasing patterns of mutual dependence in the West and elsewhere throughout the world suggest the crucial choices confronting the makers of United States foreign policy. In the Falklands War, U.S. diplomatic initiatives attempted to balance the geopolitical and economic significance of Latin America against traditional American cultural and political ties to Great Britain. In the case of Israel, the United States must weigh its thirty-four year commitment to the sovereignty of that state against its commitment to the political and economic stability of the Middle East. Increasing guerrilla activities in El Salvador and Honduras also raise disturbing questions about appropriate political and military Involvement in a Third World country. Fear of a Soviet-Cuban Communist insurgency in Latin America and the Caribbean stand in sharp contrast to fears of a new Vietnam-like involvement in the jungles of Central America. Simultaneously, the economic summit at Versailles demonstrated that while there are no unilateral solutions to the West's problems of inflation, currency stability, and balance-of-payments,. meaningful multi· lateral cooperation continues to be elusive. The complexities and ambiguities symbolized by these events are magnified ten-fold when one considers the full extent of United States global interests. The prospects of nuclear annihilation and the destruction of human civilization in the West and perhaps the world has mobilized significant segments of public opinion in the United States and Europe. But the international system constitutes only part of the foreign policy-making process.



Publication Date



Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.


Guilford, CT


United States, Foreign relations, 1981-1989


International Relations | Political Science

American Foreign Policy in an Era of Transition