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.

America and the Global South Aid, Intervention, and Neglect

America and the Global South: Aid, Intervention, and Neglect

Philippine soldiers with U.S. aid packages after Typhoon Haiyan (2013)

Bryan Denton/Corbis/AP Images

Washington seeks to balance values and interests in relations with the Global South, and this shapes its choices among strategies of aid, intervention, or neglect. In most cases, U.S. policies incorporate all three strategies to some degree. What varies is their relative balance. The most coercive, intervention, has historically involved military or political involvement to compel governments to accept and act according to U.S. interests. Intervention still occurs, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it may take other forms, including foreign aid. Foreign aid to support economic development frequently involves conditions requiring political and economic ...

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