The history of U.S. policy since 1975 is one of triumph and disaster. In 1975, Vietnam was unified on the Communist terms of the North, which put a seal on America’s failure in Southeast Asia. Fourteen years later, the U.S. stood triumphant, celebrating victory in the Cold War and its status as the last remaining superpower in the world. The unipolar moment was short lived, however, and new challenges emerged from Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Iran, and Russia. The U.S. entangled itself in bloody and impossible to win wars in the Middle East, while Europe and the U.S. developed apart in what has been called the „Atlantic Drift.“ America‘a ambivalent foreign policy record was one reason for Donald Trump to lay the axe to the liberal world order that the U.S. build after 1945. The lecture will give an in-depth overview over the course of U.S. foreign policy since 1975 focusing on its major events and processes, its actors and agendas, its geostrategic contexts, and its economic and cultural foundations.
Readings: Warren I. Cohen, The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Volume 4: Challenges to American Primacy, 1945 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013). Klaus Schwabe, Weltmacht und Weltordnung: Amerikanische Außenpolitik von 1898 bis zur Gegenwart: Eine Jahrhundertgeschichte (3rd ed., Paderborn: Schöningh, 2011. John Callaghan, Brendon O'Connor, and Mark Phythian, Ideologies of American Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2019). Peter Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers (New York : PublicAffairs, 2011). Stephan Bierling, Geschichte des Irakkriegs: Der Sturz Saddam Husseins und Amerikas Albtraum im Mittleren Osten (München: Beck, 2011).
Credit requirement: final exam (for BA, LA); final exam and book review (for MA)