You are here

Contemporary American Foreign Policy

Contemporary American Foreign Policy
Influences, Challenges, and Opportunities

Other Titles in:
American Foreign Policy

February 2016 | 568 pages | CQ Press

Contemporary American Foreign Policy: Influences, Challenges, and Opportunities looks at today’s most pressing foreign-policy challenges from a U.S. perspective, as well as from the vantage point of other states and peoples. It explores global issues such as human rights, climate change, poverty, nuclear arms proliferation, and economic collapse from multiple angles, not just through a so-called national interest lens. Authors Richard Mansbach and Kirsten L. Taylor shed new light on the competing forces that influence foreign-policy decision making, outline the various policy options available to decision makers, and explore the potential consequences of those policies, all to fully grasp and work to meet contemporary foreign-policy challenges.

Competing Models of U.S. Foreign Policy

Organization of the Book

Pedagogical Tools

Part I. Policy Orientations
Chapter 1: Sources of American Foreign Policy
The Linkage of Domestic and Foreign Policies

Sources of Foreign-Policy Influence


Chapter 2: Competing Currents in U.S. Foreign Policy
Competing Currents

Past: Competing Currents in Historical Perspective

Present: The Impact of 9/11

Conclusion: Engagement or Disengagement?

Part II. Challenges in Key Issue Areas
Chapter 3: American Military Strategy in an Era of Power Diffusion
Sources of U.S. Military Strategy

Past: Managing Superpower Rivalry

Present: Grand Strategy in a Changing World

Future: Adapting to a Changing Environment

Conclusion: A Changing Strategic Environment

Chapter 4: America and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Past: Proliferation in the First Nuclear Age

Present: Proliferation in the Second Nuclear Age

Nonproliferation and the Future

Conclusion: A Dangerous World

Chapter 5: An American Economic Conundrum: Neoliberalism or Neo-Mercantilism?
Sources of U.S. Foreign Economic Policy

Past: The Evolution of U.S. Foreign Economic Policy

Present: Contemporary Economic Challenges

Future: Foreign Economic Policy

Conclusion: America and the Globalized Economy

Chapter 6: Democracy and Human Rights: Legitimate Objectives of American Policy?
Sources of U.S. Human-Rights Policies

Past: Discerning Trends in U.S. Human Rights Policy

Present: Recent Challenges to Democracy Promotion and Human Rights

Future: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Human Rights and National Security

Conclusion: An Inconsistent Human Rights Record

Chapter 7: The U.S. and the Global South: Practicing Intervention, Aid, and Neglect
Sources of U.S. Aid and Intervention

Past: U.S. Aid and Intervention

Present: Challenges in the Global South

Future: Balancing Aid, Intervention, and Neglect


Chapter 8: Energy and the Environment: The Limits of U.S. Leadership
Sources of U.S. Environmental and Energy Policies

Past: Changing Trends in U.S. Environmental Leadership

Future: Environmental and Energy Alternatives

Conclusion: Environment and Energy Issues

Part III: Challenges in Key Regions and Countries
Chapter 9: America and the Palestinian-Israeli Imbroglio
Sources of U.S. Policy toward Israel

Past: From Israel’s Birth to the Six-Day War, 1948-1967

Present, 1967-2015

Future: Disputed Issues

Conclusion: Is Peace Possible?

Chapter 10: Arab Spring or Arab Winter?
Sources of U.S. Policy toward the Arab World

Past: Before the Arab Spring

Present: Stirrings of Spring

Future: An Arab Winter?

Conclusion: Arab Spring or Arab Winter?

Chapter 11: America and Radical Islam
Sources of U.S. Policy toward Terrorism

The Islamic Past

Present: The War on Terror

Future: Is the War on Terror Over?

Conclusion: Have We Won?

Chapter 12: The United States and China: Engagement or Containment?
Sources of American Policy toward China

Past: From Hostility to Engagement

Present: Partners or Adversaries?

Future: Balancing Cooperation and Conflict

Conclusion: Containment or Engagement?

Chapter 13: America, Europe, and NATO: A Changing Partnership
Sources of U.S. Policy toward Europe

Past: The New World and the Old

Present: NATO’s Changing Mission

Future: NATO Reinvented

Conclusion: NATO Redux

Chapter 14: America and Russia: Values versus Power
Past: A Bipolar World

Present: From Cooperation to Conflict

Future: Churchill’s “Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery inside an Enigma”

Conclusion: Did the “Reset” Succeed?

Part IV: Conclusion
Chapter 15: Conclusion: America, a Wary Hegemon
The Evolution of American Foreign Policy before the Cold War

After the Cold War

Contemporary Foreign-Policy Challenges

What Next?



Student Study Site

SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!

SAGE edge
for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment and features elements such as:
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards which strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes that allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • An online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives that reinforce the most important material
  • Carefully selected video and multimedia content that enhance exploration of key topics
Instructor Resources Site

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks that provide a diverse range of test items with Respondus test generation
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Video and multimedia content that enhance student engagement and appeal to different learning styles
  • Instructor manual which summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content
  • Lively and stimulating assignments and exercises that can be used in-class or online teaching to reinforce active learning and key features from the text. The activities apply to individual or group projects
  • A set of all the graphics from the text, including all of the maps, tables, and figures, is available in PowerPoint, pdf, and JPEG formats for class presentations

“Mansbach and Taylor’s practical, solution-oriented approach is novel and valuable. Its use of levels of analysis for causal factors and the way that it conscientiously includes important components of the global environment often neglected in other texts are just some of the factors that set it apart.”

Alynna Lyon
University of New Hampshire

“Manbach and Taylor enliven the subject matter and make it relevant to current situations. Each chapter provides an effective overview of the historical context and contemporary importance of a significant foreign policy issue, providing needed perspective that combines strong scholarship and engaging writing.”

James Seroka
Auburn University

“Mansbach and Taylor provide a thoroughly up-to-date, useful pedagogical tool for studying and learning about U.S. foreign policy. Contemporary American Foreign Policy is particularly strong in its assessments of the opportunities and constraints relative to various foreign policy options presented to the American Foreign Policy Establishment. Its strongest assets lie in its incorporation of an issue areas–approach to foreign affairs and in its various case studies.” 

Matt Caverly
University of North Florida

“Mansbach and Taylor present a timely, comprehensive, and engaging text, involving readers in the evaluation of each policy by showing positive and negative outcomes, as well as policy alternatives and approaches for analysis.  Contemporary American Foreign Policy will be attractive to both upper division and lower division undergraduates alike.” 

Martha Cottam
Washington State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

SAGE Knowledge is the premier social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press book, reference and video content.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.