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Thomas J. McCormick. Americas Half-Century: United States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After 2nd Ed. 1995. The John Hopkins University Press. Thomas McCormicks Americas Half-Century takes a revisionist historians view of United States foreign policy during the Cold War by creating a purely economic driven argument. McCormick argues that America policy-makers consciously chose hegemony as its strategy to achieving economic gains. By choosing this strategy meant massive increases in military spending for the United States to become the undisputed global power. It also meant overplaying the threat of the Soviet Union and a containment strategy of communism to keep markets from being shut off to the world. McCormick starts his work by creating the analytical framework for his argument. Every US policy decision during this period revolved around how to keep core, semiperiphery, and periphery countries as available markets. He defines the core countries as the first world or high tech producers and financiers, the periphery as the third world raw producers, and the semiperiphery as the second world that falls somewhere in between. (pg 3) The way to keep these markets open was to oppose Soviet communism/radical revolutions at all cost. McCormick argues that in reality such a threat to foreign markets did not really exist but that is not how American policy makers portrayed the Soviets. Scare tactics were used to drum up domestic support for deficit military spending. America then used its hegemony to keep allies in all three world systems in line. The majority of the work covers the Cold War or 1945 to the end of the Gulf War. He does briefly spend time in one section covering the period from 1895-1945. His argument here is showing the United States economic motivations behind wanting to take over Britains former

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role as a global hegemonic power. The other eight sections cover the United States policymakers, or ins and outers as McCormick refers to them, and how they all confirm to this vision of American hegemony as the strategy to drive economic gains. (pg 12-16) The ins and outers are the US policy makers that moved constantly between the private sector and various government agencies with different Presidential administrations throughout their careers. These are the elite policy makers that drive the fight to keep a hegemonic strategy in play. McCormick concludes the book with several outcomes after what he calls the decline of US hegemony. The importance of McCormicks argument is a different way to look at the history of the Cold War. He moves away from the traditional view of two Superpowers facing off against each other for ideological domination. Instead, he focuses on an America that systematically uses its hegemony playing up a nonexistent threat. By creating a great Soviet threat American policymakers gained foreign and domestic support that allowed foreign markets to remain open. His argument states that this worked well until the late 1980s when the Soviets no longer chose to participate. Additionally, the exponential increase in military spending during the Reagan years left a struggling American domestic industrial sector that struggled to compete globally. While this was what McCormick deems the official end of American hegemony, he notes that the decline actually started near the end of the Vietnam War. Where McCormicks argument fails is in the William Appleman Williams mindset that economic strength through the open door of foreign markets is the only driver of the United States foreign policy strategy. He takes no consideration of domestic factors unless it is in regards to economic downturn. An example of this is the civil rights movement. McCormick makes the driver of the civil rights movement less about race and more about a lack of economic opportunity for minorities. McCormick also fails to acknowledge the major military strategies

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that are largely based off of fear created by the major ideological differences between America and the Soviets. He oversimplifies it by making it solely an economic driven argument. In reality it is far more complicated. McCormick also claims that all eight American Presidents during this period held relatively the same foreign policy goals. (pg 12) He fails to discuss partisan politics as having any real influence on US foreign policy during the Cold War. The legacy of McCormicks work is to reinforce, and in regards to post Vietnam, carry on where Williams left off. It begs one to look at United States foreign policy from a perspective of using hegemony as a strategy for economic growth. Yet, there are far more factors McCormick failed to consider in his critique of United States foreign policy. One should take his argument and combine it with others to form a more complete picture.