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Safeguarding Democratic CapitalismU.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015$
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Melvyn P Leffler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196510

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196510.001.0001

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Embracing Complexity

(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism

Melvyn P. Leffler

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter chronicles how the author's study of American foreign policy over the decades gravitated toward an analysis of the meaning of national security. This was not intentional. It resulted from a long struggle to wrestle with evidence that led to attempts to synthesize the three levels of analysis that scholars of international relations often talk about: the individual, the domestic/state, and the international. By using the concept of national security, the author was able to analyze the motives shaping U.S. policymakers, examine their perception of threat and opportunity, assess their willingness to incur commitments and responsibilities abroad, study their readiness to employ military power, and gain an appreciation of how they saw the links between external configurations of power and the preservation of democratic capitalism at home. As the author embraced complexity, studied the evolving literature on grand strategy, and grappled with contingency, his empathy for the policymakers grew.

Keywords:   American foreign policy, national security, U.S. policymakers, international relations, democratic capitalism, foreign policy

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