How did the United States appoint itself as the world's supreme military power? Stephen Wertheim delves into the archives of the U.S. foreign policy elite to trace armed dominance to its origin in World War II. He shows how officials and intellectuals suddenly chose to embrace perpetual dominance--at the price of perpetual war.
In writing the history of the country’s decision to embrace a militarist vision of world order—and to do so, counterintuitively, through the creation of the United Nations—Wertheim provides an importantly revisionist account of U.S. foreign policy in the 1940s, one that helps us think anew about internationalism today ... Simply by telling the story in its proper order, Wertheim offers a bracing corrective to standard accounts of the rise of the United Nations regime ... The contemporary stakes of Wertheim’s work are plainly apparent ... a reminder of just how strange it is that Americans have come to see military supremacy as a form of selfless altruism, as a gift to the world ... The history of ideas can clarify the genealogy of contemporary foreign policy assumptions and help us imagine alternatives, but it is also important to think about how to make those alternatives politically effective...Wertheim’s book offers less guidance in this regard.
... unique in its near-exclusive focus on domestic U.S. history ... Wertheim’s book contributes to the effort to transform U.S. foreign policy by giving pro-restraint Americans a usable past. Though Tomorrow, the World is not a polemic, its implications are invigorating.