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A new intellectual history of U.S. foreign policy from the late nineteenth century to the present
Worldmaking is a fresh and compelling new take on the history of American diplomacy. Rather than retracing a familiar story of realism versus idealism, David Milne suggests that U.S. foreign policy has also been crucially divided between those who view statecraft as an art and those who believe it can aspire toward the certainties of science.
Worldmaking follows a colorful cast of characters who built on each other's ideas to create the policies we have today. Woodrow Wilson's Universalism and moralism led Sigmund Freud to diagnose a messiah complex. Walter Lippmann was an internationally syndicated columnist who commanded the attention of leaders as diverse as Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Charles de Gaulle. Paul Wolfowitz was the intellectual architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq—an ardent admirer of Wilson's attempt to "make the world safe for democracy." Each was engaged in a process of worldmaking, formulating strategies that sought to deploy the nation's vast military and economic power—or indeed its retraction through a domestic reorientation—to "make" a world in which America is best positioned to thrive.
From the age of steam engines to the age of drones, Milne reveals patterns of aspirant worldmaking that have remained impervious to the passage of time. The result is a panoramic history of U.S. foreign policy driven by ideas and the lives and times of their creators.