Morality, Reason, and Power (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Jimmy Carter began his presidency with the call for a new approach to foreign policy. In his first two years as president, he embarked on a broad range of policy initiatives and enjoyed apparent successes in negotiating treaties with Panama, promoting the Camp David agreements, and establishing full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. By the end of his term, he had suffered setbacks with Afghanistan, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) II Treaty ratification, and, most dramatically, with Iran. He had also changed the tone of his foreign policy in important ways. Gaddis Smith has set for himself the task of reviewing Carter’s policies and using them to illuminate continuing debates about the foundations of American foreign policy. While doing this, he also raises implicit questions about the limits of studying recent events as history and the problems of assessing a president’s foreign policy.
Smith argues that four basic issues structured foreign-policy debates in the Carter Administration as they have in much of the twentieth century. American decision makers have varied in their perceptions and priorities but have responded to the same questions. What should be the balance between power and principle? Is foreign policy a genuine response to external threat or the product of internal interests and domestic political ambitions? Can only vital interests justify external involvement, or should active intervention be a...
(The entire section is 2013 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
The Atlantic. CCLVII, June, 1986, p. 78.
Best Sellers. XLVI, August, 1986, p. 187.
Choice. XXIV, September, 1986, p. 217.
Commentary. LXXXII, August, 1986, p. 62.
Foreign Affairs. LXIV, Number 5, 1986, p. 1116.
Kirkus Reviews. LIV, June 1, 1986, p. 853.
Library Journal. CXI, May 15, 1986, p. 71.
The New York Times Book Review. XCI, July 6, 1986, p. 18.
Washington Monthly. XVIII, June, 1986, p. 51.
Washington Post Book World. XVI, May 18, 1986, p. 1.
(The entire section is 54 words.)