America’s Rise to Power, With Michael Mandelbaum

Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter professor emeritus of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the continuities and changes in U.S. foreign policy over the last two and a half centuries.

June 7, 2022 — 35:53 min
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Host

James M. Lindsay

Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair Full Bio

Episode Guests

Michael Mandenbaum

Show Notes

Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter professor emeritus of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the continuities and changes in U.S. foreign policy over the last two and a half centuries.

 

Books Mentioned on the Podcast

 

Michael Mandelbaum, The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower (2022)

 

Michael Mandelbaum, The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth (2019)

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Transcript

Jim Lindsay:
Welcome to The President's Inbox, a CFR podcast about the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. I'm Jim Lindsay, Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This week's topic is America's rise to power. With me to discuss the continuities and changes in US foreign policy over two and a half centuries is Michael Mandelbaum. Michael is the Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Michael, by my count has, written or co-written 17 books on foreign policy in world affairs. His latest, The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, and Hyperpower is just out now. Michael, thanks for joining me and congratulations on the publication of The Four Ages of American Foreign policy.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Thanks, Jim. It's a pleasure to be with you again.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, I have to confess that my bookshelves are groaning under the weight of all the books I own on the history of US foreign policy. So, let's start with the question that you use to open your preface. Why write a history of American foreign policy?

Michael Mandelbaum :
It's a good question, and there are three reasons. First, all of history is an exercise in interpretation and analogy. History is, as a Dutch historian once said, an argument without end, and this is my interpretation. This gives my views on the major issues of American foreign policy. Second, this book takes the story farther than previous histories have been able to do because of when it was written. This book begins in 1765 and ends in 2015. So, it's 250 years even.

Michael Mandelbaum :
But third, I offer a different framework for understanding the history of American foreign policy. The interpretive framework consists of the continuities and the changes, and I'll mention them briefly. There are three major continuities in American foreign policy over these 250 years, as I see it. First, the United States has been an unusually ideological country in foreign policy. That is, America has devoted more time and attention to promoting its values beyond its borders than other countries. Those values are briefly stated, democracy within countries and peace among them.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Second, the United States has been an unusually economic country where foreign policy is concerned. By that, I mean that America more than other countries has tried to use economic instruments to attain political goals. We see that with the war in Ukraine and the embargo on Russia, but goes all the way back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. For most of American history, the main economic instrument has been trade. But since the 20th century, the export of capital has also been used to try to achieve political goals.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Third, American foreign policy over 250 years, beginning in the 18th century, has been unusually democratic, by which I mean that the public has had a greater influence on American foreign policy than on the foreign policies of other countries. Public opinion has played a large role in beginning and ending wars, and public opinion is particularly important in the American system because there are so many avenues through which foreign policy can be influenced, not just the presidency, but the state defense and treasury departments, and also the Congress.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, I want to get into some specific episodes in American foreign policy over the past 250+ years, but let's start out with your interpretive framework. If I can, let's begin with your argument that, to a much greater degree than other countries, America's foreign policy has been driven by ideological goals. My sense is that argument probably runs counter to the sense many people have that American foreign policy is driven primarily by economic interest. We both know there was once a major school of historical thought, the so-called Wisconsin school, which argued that it was really economic interest and economic considerations that drove the choices that American decision makers made, and they dressed it up in the language of democracy, but it really was about advancing corporate interests. How do you respond to that argument?

Michael Mandelbaum :
I can respond simply. I don't think the evidence supports that. I'll give you an example. America's venture in empire, American imperialism, which is often thought to have an economic basis, took place in 1898 with the Spanish American War. My reading of the evidence is that economic interests were really not very important at all. It was public opinion aroused by the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, along with the feeling on the part of American elites, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., that the United States was a great power and ought to behave as a great power, and that meant having a sphere of influence if not a real empire. After all, all other great powers had the same thing.

Michael Mandelbaum :
There's one other point to make here, and that is there was another impulse, another incentive for war in 1898, which I think is important in the history of American foreign policy, and that is indeed ideology. In this case, the feeling that Spain was misgoverning Cuba, which indeed it was. Therefore, the United States ought to come in and rescue Cuba. This was a kind of humanitarian war and that kind of appeal has exercised influence on American foreign policy. More, I think, certainly more where war is concerned, than economic interest. It doesn't mean that the United States has been unconcerned with economics or with its economic interest, but they haven't really been the driving force. It's important to remember that for most of its history, economic interaction with other countries, in particular, trade was a very, very minor part of the American economy. The economy was focused inward, and so really didn't drive foreign policy.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, I'm glad you chose the example of the Spanish American War because it also ties into the third leg of your interpretive analysis, which is the role of public opinion. You mentioned how public opinion in the run up to the beginning of that war was really moved by concerns driven by the news media at the time about Spanish abuses of Cuban civilians on the island of Cuba, and that illustrates this broader issue that the American public, what we might call its national mood really can drive conversations about war. But I also know that sometimes, the public shortly thereafter, it seems, the way you relate it, sours on its previous passion to go to war.

Michael Mandelbaum :
That's exactly right. It's a recurrent sentiment. We see it as early as the Mexican War between 1846 and 1848. It was the Democratic-Republican, previously called Republicans and now called Democrats, headed by President Polk, who went to war. The opposition Whigs had real reservations. Abraham Lincoln, who was serving his only term in Congress then, made a speech criticizing the war. But the Whigs felt that the war was too popular for them to vote against it. So, they voted for it. But as the war dragged on, they began to criticize it, and by 1848, it was unpopular enough so that the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, who, as it happened, had also been a general in the Mexican War was elected President. Of course, in the Cold War era and the post-cold War era, we have numerous examples of wars that began with wide public support.

Michael Mandelbaum :
But when the public soured on them, they forced the administration to cut back on its war efforts. That was the pattern in Korea, in Vietnam, in the second Gulf War, and in Afghanistan. Although, I think it's important to make one particular point about these first popular and then unpopular wars, and that is although the public turned against them and came to see them as mistakes, public opinion never turned against the goals of the war. They always thought that it was a good idea in principle for the United States to be doing what it was trying to do by the use of force. But the American public came to decide in each of those wars that the price was too high, that they just didn't want to pay for trying to achieve those wars anymore, and that's what made them unpopular. Because public opinion is ultimately sovereign in the American political system, the administrations prosecuting these wars or their successors had to change course.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, why do you think it's the case that the American public hasn't gone to these experiences and then drawn the conclusion or the lesson that we should avoid them in the future?

Michael Mandelbaum :
It's a very good question. When wars go badly, there is a period when Americans are leery of any military commitment, and perhaps the best example of that is World War I. After World War, I Americans decided that it had been a mistake and were very much opposed to getting involved in another European conflict. But in World War II, and less dramatically in other wars, events changed people's mind. In World War II, it was, of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly, the United States was at war, whether or not people wanted to stay out.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Although here again, it's worth noting that while the United States was attacked from Asia, President Franklin Roosevelt decided to concentrate American efforts in Europe. So, he had that much leeway, although he did receive an assist from Adolf Hitler, who four days after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor gratuitously declared war on the United States, enabling Roosevelt to make war against him. But I think the answer to your question, which is a very good one, is that there are two things that drag America back into wars. One is the passage of time. So, like everybody on all issues, memories tend to fade. The other is that things happen and suddenly, the world tends to look threatening enough to make it only prudent for the United States to go in rather than to stay out.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, we've discussed the first and third legs of your interpretive framework. I skipped over the second, the stress on using economic instruments. Can we talk a little bit about this? Obviously today with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there's a lot of talk about the United States imposing unprecedented sanctions to try to compel the Kremlin to change behavior. But as you document very nicely in The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy, using economic instruments to get one's way in foreign policy goes way back in American history.

Michael Mandelbaum :
It goes all the way back to the time of the Revolution. The Revolution, of course, was triggered by the British imposing taxes on the 13 colonies that the colonials thought were unjustified. When these taxes were imposed, Americans got together and organized boycotts of British goods, hoping that the boycotts would put pressure on British merchants who would be losing money to put pressure on Parliament to lift the taxes. In a couple of instances, that worked. Now, economic sanctions have not always worked. In fact, usually, they haven't achieved all that Americans hope that they would achieve.

Michael Mandelbaum :
But I think Americans have been drawn to them from the beginning for several reasons. First, the United States is a commercial republic. Economics matters a lot to us, and we therefore assume that it matters a lot to other people. Second, when the United States was weak, if it wanted to get countries to change their policies, it really didn't have a military option because it wasn't powerful enough. Well, since the beginning of the 20th century, and certainly since the end of World War II, the United States has been extremely powerful and the United States has had demands to make on other countries or wishes for other countries to change their policies, but American public opinion as such, in the nature of America as such, that the country doesn't want to be going to war constantly. So, economic sanctions are a second best option to war to try to get countries to change policies that the United States doesn't like. The United States has recourse to this tactic constantly, most recently, of course, with respect to Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

Jim Lindsay:
But Michael, if we're going to talk about using economic instruments, I have to ask you about Thomas Jefferson's embargo active 1807. What was Jefferson trying to do and how did it play out?

Michael Mandelbaum :
Well, Jefferson is a very interesting case. I think Thomas Jefferson was an extremely incompetent supervisor of American foreign policy. This all stemmed from the Napoleonic wars. The British were fighting the French for, I guess, the fourth time since 1689, and the British strategy was always to use their maritime supremacy to blockade the French and put pressure on them. Therefore, they tried to shut down all trade with the French. The Americans were conducting trade with the French and with French colonies in the New World and wanted to keep it up, and the British tried to stop them by boarding ships. There was also a policy known as impressment whereby British subjects, especially British sailors who were sailing on American vessels, but whom the British suspected of having deserted British war vessels, were basically kidnapped and put back into the Royal Navy, which Americans found extremely objectionable.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Anyway, there was a dispute. Jefferson sent a delegation to London to try and negotiate a compromise. It did negotiate a compromise, as had been the case previously when George Washington and his representative, John Jay, negotiated a compromise on that very issue. Jefferson's representatives brought back the compromise and Jefferson said, "No, I won't take it. We are a nation of principle and we will not compromise our principles. They are not meeting all of our demands. They're not respecting our definition of our neutral rights and we'll have nothing to do with any compromise." Well, then he faced the problem of what to do and he had a bright idea. He decided to impose an embargo on American exports. He decided that the United States would not export at all. He thought, completely wrong-headedly, that the British were so dependent on American exports that they would cave immediately.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Well, that turned out not to be true. The embargo that Jefferson imposed, by one estimate, imposed a greater economic harm on the economy of the United States than the Great Depression, and it infuriated people. There was a fair amount of bootlegging, of violating the embargo, the states of New England, which depended on foreign trade more than any other states, were infuriated and there began to be serious talk about secession. So, Jefferson was finally forced to back down and the embargo was repealed. But that left his successor, James Madison, who was a protege of his, was a problem because they had been complaining about the terrible things that the British had been doing for over a decade and done nothing about them. So, he and the hawkish members of Congress, having no alternative, declared war in 1812, and the War of 1812 turned out to be, in my view, the most misbegotten one that the United States had ever fought. But its deep roots lie in Jefferson's attitude toward foreign policy.

Jim Lindsay:
So, that's why you're not a big fan of Thomas Jefferson, the foreign policy President, or perhaps James Madison, the foreign policy President.

Michael Mandelbaum :
That is certainly true. I think that, although there is real competition for the distinction, they are probably the two least competent Presidents where foreign policy is concerned because Jefferson did gratuitous harm to the American economy for nothing and Madison started a war in which the United States gained nothing, but was invaded and had its capital city burned. Those were really not good calculations. On the other hand, it has to be said for Jefferson, and the reason that his likeness is on Mount Rushmore with the other great American Presidents, is that he did bring in the Louisiana Territory, and that expanded the country for the first time. It was the first and therefore the most important territorial expansion. He saw an opportunity and seized it and that was extremely important in the making of the United States.

Jim Lindsay:
It's also worth noting in buying Louisiana, he put aside his strict constructionist approach to the Constitution, decided to check those principles at the door because the allure of owning Louisiana was too great.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Indeed, he did. It's also perhaps worth noting that the United States owes the Louisiana Purchase indirectly to the country that was its great adversary through the 19th century, namely Great Britain. Great Britain was at war with France and Napoleonic wars. They made a peace in 1802. The Peace of Amiens. At that point, Napoleon took back the Louisiana Territory from Spain because he decided he wanted a North American empire and he made plans for building such an empire, the first step in which incidentally was the reconquest of Haiti. But the Haitians resisted the French, buying precious time for the United States.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Anyway, the Peace of Amiens collapsed, the war between France and Britain began again. At that point, Napoleon's dreams of a North American empire dissolved because the British had maritime supremacy, which meant that France could not communicate with North America. It was outgunned in maritime terms. So, Napoleon made the best of a bad situation. He decided that he might as well sell it to the Americans who wanted it anyway, and that way, he could get some money to replenish his treasury to fight the British. That is how Thomas Jefferson was able to get all of Louisiana.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, that provides a nice segue to get to the subtitle of The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, and Hyperpower. I want to talk a bit about how the United States went from weak power all the way up to hyperpower. But one thing I was struck in reading your description of the so-called period of being a weak power was in some sense how lucky the United States was. I was reminded of the saying attributed to Otto von Bismarck that, "God is a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States."

Jim Lindsay:
The United States had a period of relative security to pursue its westward expansion, which was quite violent at times because of two things. One, as you point out, Europe had turned inward and was focused on problems on the continent and Great Britain ruled the seas and in many ways provided the United States with what's been called free security through the 19th century, meaning in some sense that the United States in many ways was the original free rider. Talk to me about the period of America as a weak power.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Yes. Those two factors were extremely important. The United States was a weak power through the middle of the 19th century, which meant that in any war with a great power, it would lose. But after 1815, it didn't have to fight a great power, thanks to the Napoleonic wars. They'd been so bloody and violent that the European great powers decided that in their own self interest, for their own self-preservation, they needed to have a stable balance of power on the continent where nobody would take a poke at anybody else. Because they were so focused on the European equilibrium, on nobody doing anything that could threaten anybody else on the continent, they had no time or attention for North America, where if any had chosen to do so and had managed to get military forces to North America, it could have carved out a piece of the continent for itself.

Michael Mandelbaum :
But it not only didn't get any forces to North America that is any European continental power, it didn't even try and would've failed if it had because Britain ruled the waves. Britain was the master of the Atlantic ocean and therefore protected the United States against any European imperial designs. Now, the British, of course, were themselves an imperial power and they had had an empire in North America and continued to have an empire with Canada, but they didn't desire directly to control any other territory. The British did a lot of trade with Latin America. It's sometimes called by historians of British imperialism their informal empire. They had something like a monopoly of trade with Latin America.

Michael Mandelbaum :
For that, their maritime supremacy was vital, but they didn't want formal colonies there and they didn't want to take back the United States. So, aside from defending Canada against the United States, which from time to time did have designs on conquering Canada, the British were not in the formal empire business, which was fine with the United States because the territory that the British or another European imperial power might have taken for its own in North America was conquered by the United States between the Revolution and the Civil War. So, I use a quote from Samuel Flagg Bemis, who was a great diplomatic historian at Yale in the middle of the 20th century, that, "Europe's misfortune was America's advantage." America was precisely, as you say, a free rider on Europe and on Europe's international politics and international conflicts.

Jim Lindsay:
Perhaps something Americans should keep in mind today when they tend to complain about Europeans free riding on the United States. But I want to move, Michael, to getting your description of the other three periods of American foreign policy history, the time of a great power, a superpower, and a hyperpower. How do those periods break down?

Michael Mandelbaum :
The United States was a great power between approximately 1865 and 1945, which meant that it was one of the club of great powers, mostly European. At the end of that period, Japan also joined the club. Great powers characteristically do two things, which the United States did. First. They carve out a sphere of influence or sometimes a formal empire that they govern. The United States did that in 1898 with the Philippines, with its basically indirect control of Cuba, with Hawaii, and with Puerto Rico, but it stopped then. What's important to note about the American empire is that compared with European empires, especially the British, but also the French and the other empires, the American empire was short lived, half-hearted, and pretty puny. Americans didn't care about it.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Theodore Roosevelt was the great champion of empire and of the Spanish American War and he became a national figure by recruiting a brigade and sending it to Cuba and leading it in a famous charge of San Juan Hill. That made him vice President in 1900. When President McKinley was killed in 1901, he became President, and almost the first thing he did or said was, "We've got to find a way to get rid of the Philippines. This is a burden." So, that's one thing a great power does. Another thing a great power does is to cooperate and conflict with other great powers, and the United States did that too. It was part of the winning coalition in the two World Wars, and as a result of the second war, the United States became a superpower.

Michael Mandelbaum :
It was different from an historic great power, as was the other superpower, the Soviet union, in that its interests were global. There was no part of the planet in which the United States was not interested. It differed from being an ordinary great power in that this was a contest of distinctly different political and economic systems that the two sides were trying to spread, and it was the United States was a super power different from historic great powers in that nuclear weapons were a part of the conflict. So, that, the superpower conflict went from 1945 to 1990 and for 15 years thereafter, the United States acted as the hyperpower.

Michael Mandelbaum :
The term hyperpower, or "hyper-puissance" comes from a French foreign minister of the time, Hubert Védrine, and it's appropriate for America in this period because the United States had no rivals, no security challenges. It was a period unprecedented freedom for American foreign policy. What is distinctive about that period, besides this almost unlimited American freedom, is that, whereas in the first three periods of American history, the first three periods of the history of American foreign policy, the United States was remarkably successful, preserving its independence and expanding in the first, winning the two wars in the second, winning the Cold War in the third. In the fourth, it was unsuccessful.

Jim Lindsay:
So, I have to ask you, Michael, how do you explain that paradox, more power, less success?

Michael Mandelbaum :
It is a paradox and a very interesting feature of American foreign policy. There were mistakes of foreign policy in this period. I believe that the initial NATO expansion was a mistake because it alienated Russia. The Iraq War did not turn out well. But there is a larger issue here, the overall American goal, and it was the proper goal, was to transform other countries to give them governments that were decent, peace loving, and prosperity supporting. In such a world, America's interests would be secure. That is the best of all possible worlds. It's the kind of world that Americans have thought about and dreamed of really since the Revolution. It's the kind of world Woodrow Wilson wanted. It's the kind of world that every American President since Woodrow Wilson has advocated. It would be a better world than we have now and it would certainly be worth bringing about.

Michael Mandelbaum :
The United States tried to bring it about, but failed because it can't be done. Transformations of governments in other countries really cannot be done from the outside and they cannot be done in a short period of time. The kind of government that the United States and other democracies have and that the United States sought to promote in other countries in its period as a hyperpower rest on foundations of experience, institutions, values, and you can't just wrap them up in a doggy bag and deliver them. It takes a long time. So, the United States failed in its period as a hyperpower because it was undertaking what was, in effect, mission impossible.

Jim Lindsay:
Michael, you end The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy by suggesting we are at the dawn of a fifth age of American foreign policy. What do you think that will look like?

Michael Mandelbaum :
I published a book a few years ago called The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth, which is about how we got to this new era. The new era is marked by, it's defined by great power competition. Once again, Russia, China and Iran are regional threats to the United States and its allies. Once again, the United States is at the center of regional coalitions opposing these three aggressive revisionist powers. Once again, the United States is by far the most powerful of its allies and its alliance systems militarily. So, this era looks rather like, although not completely like, the Cold War, the difference being that the confrontation is not ideological, that the three challenging powers, at least thus far, are regional rather than global.

Michael Mandelbaum :
But it's also important to note that the United States undertook the burden of the Cold War in the wake of World War II and in order to prevent another war. World War II was so expensive and dangerous and traumatic that Americans were willing to break with habits of the past in foreign policy in order to prevent a third World War. Well, it's been 75 years. Will the country be as motivated now as it was during the Cold War to perform the kinds of tasks that it did then, and that seem to be called for now? That, of course, we don't know.

Jim Lindsay:
Well, I have to ask you then, Michael. When you do the fifth edition of The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy, is the epilogue going to be titled Diminished Power or Wiser Power.

Michael Mandelbaum :
It could be either or something else. The future, as always, and you as a historian know this well, is unpredictable. What we do know is that the future of American foreign policy will be a combination of three things. First, America's relative power in the world, second, the distinctively American approaches to foreign policy involving ideology, economics, and democracy, and third, and not least important, the always unpredictable contingencies of human history.

Jim Lindsay:
Understood, Michael, that is very hard to see the future, easier to try to understand the past. As you point out, history is an unending argument. I want to pull on one last thread from something you mentioned earlier when you talked about some Presidents not being as good at the foreign policy job as others. When you look back over the history of American foreign policy, which Presidents, or several Presidents, would you point to as being the best at blending the three challenges or continuities of American foreign policy in a successful actual policy?

Michael Mandelbaum :
Well, I would answer the question a little bit differently in this sense. There are three occasions when America really needed a good President and those were during America's three most important, most challenging wars, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II. In each case, the United States had the good fortune to have a superb commander in chief. George Washington was a good battlefield tactician because tactics involved mainly avoiding battle with the stronger-

Jim Lindsay:
Smart thing to do against the overwhelming power of the British army.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Well, Washington understood almost immediately that if he gave battle, he would lose. The United States did win two very important battles. But the second one in which Washington was involved, the Battle of Yorktown, also involved the French. So, he was very good. Lincoln was very good in understanding what the challenge required, namely destroying the Confederate army, finding a general, Ulysses S. Grant, who could execute the strategy and persevering to the end, to the successful conclusion, despite all the terrible costs, and Franklin Roosevelt, who by the way, was in some ways the best qualified of all American war Presidents, he knew a lot about the world and about the military, having been assistant secretary of the Navy during World War I, which was one of the four top defense jobs. FDR had to make very difficult contentious strategic decisions that the other two Presidents did not have to make.

Michael Mandelbaum :
In retrospect, at least in my judgment, he made the right ones. He gave assistance to the British, resisting Hitler before the United States entered the war, although there was a lot of criticism of that. Once the war began, he decided to concentrate on Europe rather than Asia, even though the United States had been attacked from Asia. He ordered the initial American military operation in North Africa, even though the chiefs were dead set against that because he believed that for political reasons, Americans had to see their army in action in 1942, and that operation took place in 1942.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Finally, he decided that the invasion of France from Great Britain, Operation Overlord or D-Day, would take place in the middle of 1944, rather than earlier, as America's wartime ally, Joseph Stalin, insisted, or later as the wartime ally, Winston Churchill, wished. It's also important, I think, to say about these three Presidents that each of them was very good at doing what is always important and sometimes the most difficult task in an American war. That is keeping the country committed to the fighting.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Let me mention one other President who's extremely important and in a way paradoxical, and that's Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson presided over American participation in World War i, even though he really didn't want to get into war and didn't care all that much about its outcome. What he really cared about was devising an international order after the war that would prevent wars in the future. In that, he was, I would say, an almost complete failure and yet, Wilson's ghost and Wilson's ideas are with us to the present day. Wilsonianism has never gone away. He is the archetype of the prophet without honor in his own time.

Jim Lindsay:
On that note, I'll close up The President's Inbox for this week. My guest has been Michael Mandelbaum, the Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Michael's new book, The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower, is out now. I highly recommend it. Michael, thank you for joining me.

Michael Mandelbaum :
Jim, thank you very much.

Jim Lindsay:
Please subscribe to The President's Inbox in Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen and leave us your review. They help us get noticed and improve the show. You can find the books and articles mentioned in this episode, as well as a transcript of our conversation, on the podcast page for The President's Inbox on cfr.org. As always, opinions expressed in The President's Inbox are solely those are the hosts or our guests, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions of matters of policy. Today's episode was produced by Zoe Collins with senior podcast producer, Gabrielle Sierra. Zoe also did double duty as our recording engineer. As always, Zoe, thank you.

Jim Lindsay:
Special thanks go out to Margaret Gach for her assistance, and I do have to note that today's a rather sad day for me because today marks the last day that Zoe will be producing The President's Inbox. She started with us in January of 2019, she has produced more than 150 episodes, she led our transition to remote recording at the start of the pandemic, and did it as if she had done it dozens of times in the past. She has solved more technical problems than I can count and has always made me sound much better than I do. Just want you to know Zoe, you will always be part of the TPI family. This is Jim Lindsay. Thanks for listening.

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Derek H. Chollet, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s invasion of U...

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Ebenezer Obadare, Douglas Dillon senior fellow for Africa studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how African countries are responding to the Russ...

Ebenezer Obadare, Douglas Dillon senior fellow for Africa studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how African countries are responding to the Russ...

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Yascha Mounk, senior fellow at CFR and professor of the practice of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the...

Yascha Mounk, senior fellow at CFR and professor of the practice of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the...

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Ukraine’s first steps toward eventual EU membership are the start of a long process that has raised the stakes in the country’s war with Russia.

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The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion for almost fifty years. How does regulation of abortion in the United States compare to that in the rest of the world?