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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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Political Isolationism, Economic Expansionism, or Diplomatic Realism

Political Isolationism, Economic Expansionism, or Diplomatic Realism

American Policy Toward Western Europe, 1921–1933

(p.76) 3 Political Isolationism, Economic Expansionism, or Diplomatic Realism
Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism

Melvyn P. Leffler

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers U.S. foreign policy during the interwar years. It shows that, although the Republican officials did not wish to incur strategic commitments abroad, get embroiled in European political controversies, or defend the open door with the use of military force or economic sanctions, they were nonetheless engaged in and concerned with international affairs. Although they did want to expand U.S. markets abroad, gain access to critical raw materials, and direct U.S. private loans into productive purposes, they did not want to compromise domestic priorities or overextend the role of government in the American political economy. Seeing no short-term or even intermediate-term threats to vital U.S. interests, they were inclined to take measured steps to promote world stability and international order. They had a sense of the limits of American power and American interests, and they were not inclined to exaggerate their ability to alter French or Japanese views of their own vital interests.

Keywords:   political isolationism, interwar years, economic expansionism, Western Europe, diplomatic realism, domestic priorities, American political economy, U.S. interests, international order, American power

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