Observations on the Cycles in US Foreign Policy

  • Thomas H. Henriksen
Part of the American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century book series (AMP21C)


Henriksen concludes that the US foreign policy yawing between cycles of interventionism and retrenchment conformed to presidential tenures. Each president came into office determined to zig where his predecessor had zagged. Each campaigned with a set of foreign policy prescriptions. The major political parties—Democrat and Republican—ascribe to at least general principles. These factors underline the importance of the president’s political party, the president’s own foreign policy views, and the sentiments of the voting coalition assembled to win the White House. The two major parties have held differing international philosophies since the divisive Vietnam War, which partially explains the cycles in US foreign policy. As professors Schlesinger and Klingberg proposed, cyclicity offers an element for interpreting the past and for predicting likely future directions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas H. Henriksen
    • 1
  1. 1.Hoover InstitutionStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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