The Abandonment of the West

The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy

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By Michael Kimmage

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This definitive portrait of American diplomacy reveals how the concept of the West drove twentieth-century foreign policy, how it fell from favor, and why it is worth saving.

Throughout the twentieth century, many Americans saw themselves as part of Western civilization, and Western ideals of liberty and self-government guided American diplomacy. But today, other ideas fill this role: on one side, a technocratic “liberal international order,” and on the other, the illiberal nationalism of “America First.”

In The Abandonment of the West, historian Michael Kimmage shows how the West became the dominant idea in US foreign policy in the first half of the twentieth century — and how that consensus has unraveled. We must revive the West, he argues, to counter authoritarian challenges from Russia and China. This is an urgent portrait of modern America’s complicated origins, its emergence as a superpower, and the crossroads at which it now stands.
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On Sale
Apr 21, 2020
Page Count
384 pages
Publisher
Basic Books
ISBN-13
9781541646049

Michael Kimmage

About the Author

Michael Kimmage is a professor of history at the Catholic University of America, specializing in the history of the United States, Europe, and Russia. A member of the secretary’s policy planning staff at the US Department of State from 2014 to 2016 and the author of two books, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Washington, DC.

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