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U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. Foreign Policy
The Paradox of World Power

Sixth Edition

July 2019 | 376 pages | CQ Press
“Hook’s text delivers a comprehensive but up-to-date and easily accessible account of the internal and external forces that constrain U. S. foreign policy makers.” 
—Niall Michelsen, Western Carolina University

The same aspects of American government and society that propelled the United States to global primacy have also hampered its orderly and successful conduct of foreign policy. This paradox challenges U.S. leaders to overcome threats to America's world power in the face of fast-moving global developments and political upheavals at home.

U.S. Foreign Policy explores this paradox, identifies its key sources and manifestations, and considers its future implications. Bestselling author Steven W. Hook shows readers how to think critically about these cascading developments and the link between the process and the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. 

The Sixth Edition highlights global and domestic shifts in the balance of power that affect U.S. foreign policy. It includes essential coverage of foreign policy initiatives under the Trump administration and how they compare to the actions of his recent predecessors. The most pressing question is whether U.S. foreign policymakers can manage these dynamics in a manner that preserves U.S. primacy.

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Figures, Tables, Maps, and Boxes
Chapter 1. The United States in a Turbulent World
The Paradox of America’s World Power

The Numbers of U.S. Foreign Policy


Key Terms

Chapter 2. The Expansion of U.S. Power
Economic and Territorial Expansion

Fighting Two World Wars

Global Primacy and the Cold War

New Challenges After the Cold War


Key Terms

Chapter 3. Dynamics of Decision Making
The Global Context: Rival Perspectives

Opening the “Black Box” of Domestic Politics

The Impact of Civil Society

Coping With Bureaucratic Politics

The Human Factor


Key Terms

Chapter 4. Presidential Power
The Constitution’s Mixed Blessing

Presidential Prerogative in the “Zone of Twilight”

Structures of the “Presidential Branch”

Judicial Interventions in Foreign Policy


Key Terms

Chapter 5. Congress Beyond the “Water’s Edge”
Trends in Legislative-Executive Relations

Constraints on Congressional Action

Foreign Policy by Committee

War Powers and the Use of Force

The Power of the Purse


Key Terms

Chapter 6. The Foreign Policy Bureaucracy
Agency Dysfunctions and the Paradox of World Power

The Diplomatic Complex

The Security Complex

The Intelligence Complex

The Economic Complex


Key Terms

Chapter 7. Public Opinion at Home and Abroad
Democracy and the Paradox of World Power

Public Opinion Since World War II


Key Terms

Chapter 8. The Impact of Mass Communications
Functions of the News Media

Patterns of Foreign News Coverage

The Social Media Revolution

Online News and Views From Overseas


Key Terms

Chapter 9. Social Movements and Interest Groups
Group Action and the Paradox

Dynamics of Social Movements

Types of Foreign Policy NGOs

Group Strategies and Tactics

Buying Power: The Corporate Connection


Key Terms

Chapter 10. National Security and Defense Policy
The Foundation of Strategy

Justifying the Use of Force

The Nuclear Shadow

Waging War on Terror


Key Terms

Chapter 11. Economic Statecraft
Models of Political Economy

The Balance of Economic Power

Trade Policy as a “Two-Level Game”

National Interests and Foreign Aid

Economic Sanctions as a Policy Tool


Key Terms

Chapter 12. Transnational Policy Problems
Managing the Global Commons

The Immigration Debate

The Dangers of Weapons Proliferation

Human Rights and Democracy

Prospects for “Exporting” Democracy

Threats to Democracy at Home


Key Terms

Appendix A: U.S. Administrations Since World War II
Appendix B: The War Powers Resolution of 1973
About the Author


Instructor's Resource Site

Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected)

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students. 
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • An LMS-compatible version of the test bank for easy LMS integration is included. 
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Instructor manual for each chapter that includes learning objectives, chapter outline, discussion questions, and class activities, to support your teaching
  • Multimedia content appeals to diverse learners.
Student Study Site
SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.
  • Mobile-friendly Flashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts. 
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Chapter summaries reinforce the most important material.
  • Meaningful multimedia and video links facilitate student use of Internet resources and further exploration of topics.

“Hook’s text delivers a comprehensive but up-to-date and easily accessible account of the internal and external forces that constrain U. S. foreign policy makers.”

Niall Michelsen
Western Carolina University

“In his U. S. Foreign Policy book, Steven Hook provides an unbiased and detailed survey of American foreign policy and its dilemmas and paradoxes over time. Its framework is especially valuable in explaining many of the country’s foreign policy dilemmas and challenges under the Trump Administration. It is highly recommended for students, scholars, and professionals in the area of U. S. foreign policy.”

Ivan Dinev Ivanov
University of Cincinnati

“There are some pretty good texts on the process of U. S. foreign policymaking and some pretty good books on the content and history of U. S. foreign policy, but there are very few that combine both in anything more than a perfunctory manner. That makes this text one of the most complete and comprehensive introductions to U.S. foreign policy out there. Because major topics are fully contained in separate chapters, the text can be used modularly. Moreover, it is well written for a student audience. While it presents topics for the novice in this field of study, it is not dumbed-down. It nicely combines facts and history with theories of foreign policymaking and analysis. Students who read this book will experience a superb introduction to American foreign policy and how it is studied.”

Steven G. Livingston
Middle Tennessee State University
Key features
  • All chapters have been updated in terms of both the scholarly literature and coverage of recent developments in U.S. foreign policy—enabling readers to make connections between key concepts and current events.  
  • New international coverage familiarizes readers with current global topics, such as coverage of how foreign entities have impacted domestic affairs, such as the controversy over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • New domestic coverage provides readers with a better understanding of U.S. policy, such as policy actions that revolve around the president’s “America-First” doctrine and the integration of U.S. led initiatives and sanctions on countries such as Russia, Pakistan, Cuba, and Iran.
  • The narrative, including references and key terms, has been tightened to encourage more focused reading.


  • Learning objectives contain measurable takeaways for each chapter and guide students in close, focused reading. 
  • “In Their Own Words” boxes offer insightful perspectives on the policy process. 
  • Two useful appendixes list U.S. administrations since World War II and present the text of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
  • SAGE edge provides students helpful tools, including Flashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment. 

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