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In Uncertain TimesAmerican Foreign Policy after the Berlin Wall and 9/11$
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Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449093

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449093.001.0001

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Questing for Monsters to Destroy

Questing for Monsters to Destroy

(p.117) 7 Questing for Monsters to Destroy
In Uncertain Times

John Mueller

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines U.S. foreign policy during and after the Cold War. It begins by discussing two key concerns of the victors at the conclusions of World War II on September 2, 1945, and the Cold War on November 9, 1989: securing the peace and identifying and dealing with new threats. In particular, it considers how policymakers addressed questions regarding Germany and Japan, along with the threat of Soviet Communism. It then focuses on threat identification on the domestic front as well as the threats presented by 9/11 and the Korean War of 1950. It suggests that U.S. officials compiled a good record integrating former enemies into a vibrant democratic capitalist community, but did less well extrapolating lessons from the past, comprehending the significance of the evolving international landscape, and gauging the degree of threat. The chapter concludes by raising fundamental questions about how to interpret threats and asks why officials exaggerate dangers.

Keywords:   foreign policy, Cold War, World War II, threat identification, Germany, Japan, Communism, 9/11, Korean War

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