U.S. Foreign Policy, Ideals or Self-Interest?
The late Robert Osgood, in his seminal work on U.S. foreign policy “Ideals and Self-Interest in America’s Foreign Relations,” made a powerful argument for the realist approach to foreign policy, however he cautioned that idealism is also indispensable in making foreign policy. His book chronicles many examples. One such example mentions those who advocated a strict focus on U.S. self-interest prior to World War II and advocated America steering clear of war in Europe. In this war issue, idealists were alarmed by the fascist threat to Western society and wanted the U.S. to enter the war and defend the democracies of Europe–on whose survival our own United States security depended.
Go to Course Documents for article, Relevant Today: The Insights of Dr. Robert Osgood, by Jonathan Tkachuk, Program Associate, The Osgood Center.
- Review the article “Relevant Today: The Insights of Dr. Robert Osgood” by Jonathan Tkachuk (Course Documents)
- Determine your thesis as to whether United States foreign policy decisions should be based on ideals or self-interest.
- Write a one-page, double-spaced response to the question: United States foreign policy should be based on ideals or self-interest? Include in your answer a brief description of the cyclical nature of U. S. foreign policy, and taking into account the continuity principle as explained in your text.
- Submit your assignment using the link “Submit Week 2: One-Page Response” above.
Students will understand the continuity principle and the arguments for or against ideals or self-interest in determining the basis for United States foreign policy.
This assignment is worth 50 points toward your course grade.