Conservative Internationalism coverIn Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan, Henry Nau has written a book that will undoubtedly provoke impassioned debate among political scientists and historians. Despite all that has been written about the grand traditions of American foreign relations, Nau argues that scholars have thus far failed to acknowledge the distinctive tradition of what he calls “conservative internationalism.” In his view, conservative internationalism is a hybrid tradition that “mixes in different ways America’s responsibility to reform world affairs stressed by liberal internationalism, America’s power to maintain global stability emphasized by realism, and America’s respect for national sovereignty preferred by nationalism” (2). Nau’s purpose in identifying and explicating the conservative internationalist tradition, of course, goes far beyond simple classification. In his view, the conservative internationalist tradition has been quite successful in the past and continues to offer valuable insights into contemporary American foreign policy.

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