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The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower

National Archives Museum

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT

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In The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy, Michael Mandelbaum offers a new framework for understanding the evolution of the foreign policy of the United States. He divides that evolution into four distinct periods, with each defined by the consistent increase in American power relative to other countries. He portrays the United States first as a weak power, from 1765 to 1865, then as a great power between 1865 and 1945, next as a superpower in the years 1945 to 1990, and finally as the world’s sole hyperpower, from 1990 to 2015. He also presents three features of American foreign policy that are found in every era: the goal of disseminating the political ideas Americans have embraced from the first, the use of economic instruments in pursuit of foreign policy goals, and a process for formulating policy and implementing decisions shaped by popular influence. Joining the author in conversation will be author and New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman.


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