Ideologies of American Foreign Policy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ideologies of American Foreign Policy

1st Edition

By John Callaghan, Brendon O'Connor, Mark Phythian


196 pages | 3 Color Illus.

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A comprehensive account of ideology and its role in the foreign policy of the United States of America, this book investigates the way United States foreign policy has been understood, debated and explained in the period since the US emerged as a global force, on its way to becoming the world power.

Starting from the premise that ideologies facilitate understanding by providing explanatory patterns or frameworks from which meaning can be derived, the authors study the relationship between ideology and foreign policy, demonstrating the important role ideas have played in US foreign policy. Drawing on a range of US administrations, they consider key speeches and doctrines, as well as private conversations, and compare rhetoric to actions in order to demonstrate how particular sets of ideas – that is, ideologies – from anti-colonialism and anti-communism to neo-conservatism mattered during specific presidencies and how US foreign policy was projected, explained and sustained from one administration to another.

Bringing a neglected dimension into the study of US foreign policy, this book will be of great interest to students and researchers of US foreign policy, ideology and politics.


"It is often claimed that we are moving into a new era of ideological conflict and contestation in world politics. In this context, Ideologies of American Foreign Policy could not be more timely. Innovative, insightful and remarkably wide-ranging, this is a book that challenges us to think more seriously and systematically about the role of ideas in foreign policy, and their impact on both the actions of the United States and the emerging global order." Michael C. Williams, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, Canada

"Callaghan, O’Connor and Phythian marry the theoretical rigor of the political scientist to the rich sources of the historian to update how ideology has influenced top US makers of foreign policy into the twenty-first century. This book should be required reading not only for scholars and students of international relations but also their actors, so that they better understand why they do what they do." Alan McPherson, Temple University, USA

"Ideology is a notoriously slippery concept. But in Ideologies of American Foreign Policy, Callaghan, O’Connor and Phythian provide a clear and compelling analysis of how ideology and exceptionalism have indelibly shaped the history of American foreign relations." – Andrew Preston, University of Cambridge, UK

Table of Contents

1. The question of ideology 2. The age of ideology in foreign policy 3. Anti-communism fixed 4. The Johnson administration and the defence of freedom in Vietnam 5. Doctrine, dominoes and democracy in the Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy 6. The exceptionalism of Ronald Reagan: ideology and Cold war, from intensification to end 7. George W. Bush administration: terrorism, Iraq and freedom 8. Ideological framings of American foreign policy: the domestic legacy

About the Authors

John Callaghan is Professor of Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Salford.

Brendon O’Connor is an Associate Professor at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Mark Phythian is Professor of Politics in the School of History, Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy

This new series sets out to publish high quality works by leading and emerging scholars critically engaging with United States Foreign Policy. The series welcomes a variety of approaches to the subject and draws on scholarship from international relations, security studies, international political economy, foreign policy analysis and contemporary international history.

Subjects covered include the role of administrations and institutions, the media, think tanks, ideologues and intellectuals, elites, transnational corporations, public opinion, and pressure groups in shaping foreign policy, US relations with individual nations, with global regions and global institutions and America’s evolving strategic and military policies.

The series aims to provide a range of books – from individual research monographs and edited collections to textbooks and supplemental reading for scholars, researchers, policy analysts, and students.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General