Michael Mandelbaum

Jul 13, 2022

The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy

Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower

Oxford University Press 2022

The United States is now nearly 250 years old. It arose from humble beginnings, as a strip of mostly agrarian and sparsely populated English colonies on the northeastern edge of the New World, far removed from the centers of power in Europe. Today, it is the world's most powerful country, with its largest economy and most powerful military. How did America achieve this status?

In The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower (Oxford University Press, 2022), Michael Mandelbaum offers a new framework for understanding the evolution of the foreign policy of the United States. He divides that evolution into four distinct periods, with each defined by the consistent increase in American power relative to other countries. His history of the four periods features engaging accounts of the major events and important personalities in the foreign policy of each era. Throughout, Mandelbaum highlights fundamental continuities in the goals of American foreign policy and in the way that policy was adopted and implemented.

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin).

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