Stephen Wertheim, Author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy, Talks to Mehdi Hasan About Biden’s Foreign Policy Challenges

I’m not as optimistic as Wertheim is but this was an interesting conversation from a mainstream news program, considering that Wertheim is with the Quincy Institute – a think tank that advocates for a more restrained foreign policy.

I’ve heard good things about Wertheim’s book, Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy. It has been added to my ever-expanding to-read list. I’m not sure when I will get to it but, in the meantime, here are some excerpts from a review of the book by Daniel Larison at The American Conservative:

The U.S. embarked on a program of global supremacy eighty years ago, and American political leaders and policymakers chose this path much earlier than is commonly believed. To that end, they invented a myth of an “isolationist” America during the 1920s and 1930s, and that myth has been used ever since as the justification for dominance. In the earliest days of WWII before the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. policy planners were already imagining a world order with the U.S. at its apex, and they made sure to redefine internationalism so that it applied only to supporters of this new strategy.

Wertheim’s account of this period is compelling and insightful. It is a short volume, but it is very rich in detail. Policy planners were already discussing a U.S. role in terms of supremacy and domination in late 1940. Even before the U.S. was formally at war with the Axis, U.S. planners were drawing up proposals for what one analyst simply described as “world domination by the United States and the British Empire acting in close and continuous collaboration.” The blueprint for America’s postwar role was already being drafted before the U.S. entered the war. The objective, as Wertheim says, was “to maintain armed primacy,” and this was already the goal in 1941 before Japan attacked. This is very different from the standard interpretations of the period, as he makes clear: “Rather than react defensively and belatedly to an objective threat, as most narratives of this period presuppose, U.S. elites did almost the opposite. They expanded their definition of national security, deeming the United States to possess an overriding interest in avoiding ‘isolation’ within the Western Hemisphere.”

Global supremacy was not the logical or inevitable culmination of American history. It was the result of a series of contingent decisions that U.S. policymakers made during the 1940s that laid the foundations for U.S. foreign policy thereafter, and it required the complete reimagining of America’s place in the world.

2 thoughts on “Stephen Wertheim, Author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy, Talks to Mehdi Hasan About Biden’s Foreign Policy Challenges”

  1. I would like to modify Stephen Wertheim’s version of the history of US global supremacy as follows:
    1. US, at least, based on Franklin Roosevelt’s idea in the Atlantic Charter, would prefer to in fact work closely with Soviet Union to maintain the world order after WWII, not the British Empire.
    2. Unfortunately, after the death of FDR, Truman government joined the centuries-old British Empire’s global dominance plan.
    3. NATO is the realization of the American-Anglo world dominance ambition, with the addition of the Neo-Ottoman component. (Canada is part of British Empire; France has been in-and-out of NATO, Germany is an occupied and manipulated puppet state. The rest are just vessels.)
    4. After the dissolution of Soviet Union, the American-Anglo-Ottoman-Axis continues its global dominance operations, manifested in the history of recent 30 years.
    5. As collateral damages, the American Empire awakened and fed the sleeping dragon, the Chinese Empire, and has been emboldening the almost fading away gray wolf after WWI, the Ottoman Empire.
    6, Now, the human beings of the world have to deal with four vicious empires at the same time for next century: the American, the British, the Chinese, and the Ottoman Empires (ABCO Empires).

  2. biden foreign policy will as bad as the one we have now. Sadly biden has installed aids and cabinet members that are war dodgers that are pro war. Amerika first carries on.

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