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Teaching Module: Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World

Author: Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
December 2001

The United States has had a more successful foreign policy than any other great power in history. Council Senior Fellow Walter Russell Mead attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to a vigorous interplay among four powerful political traditions that have shaped foreign policy since the Revolution. The tension among these competing forces guides American foreign policy toward prudent action. Mead argues that the United States is successful because its strategy is rooted in Americans’ concrete interests, which value trade and commerce as much as military security.  

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