Foreign policy is messy--and also incredibly interesting. Every day, decisionmakers must formulate and modify the US’s stance towards states like Russia, China, Germany, Iran, Syria, and Israel and tackle cross-cutting issues that touch on human rights, climate change, poverty, human insecurity, nuclear arms proliferation, and economic collapse. In Contemporary American Foreign Policy: Influences, Challenges, and Opportunities, authors Richard Mansbach (Iowa State University) and Kirsten Taylor (Berry College) examine modern foreign policy problems from a variety of angles, not just through the lens of a so-called “national interest.” In each chapter, they focus on today’s most pressing contemporary challenges, exploring their origins and backgrounds. They systematically shed light on the competing forces that influence them, outline the various policy options available to decisionmakers for addressing them, and explore the potential consequences of those policies. Throughout, they also look at foreign policy at all levels: international, society, government, “role”-specific, and individual.

American Military Strategy in an Era of Power Diffusion

American Military Strategy in an Era of Power Diffusion

Air Force Space Command Network Operations & Security Center in Colorado Springs

Reuters / Rick Wilking

U.S. policymakers have struggled since the Cold War to craft a coherent grand strategy to meet contemporary challenges, that is, a comprehensive approach to foreign policy that coordinates goals and the tools to pursue them. Administrations face pressure to design grand strategies that will guide America’s involvement in the world and communicate U.S. interests to others. Shaping a grand strategy was challenging even when there existed a single unifying threat as there did during the Cold War. Today, it is more difficult, owing to a diffusion of power that enables other actors to challenge ...

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