Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy

Stephen Wertheim. Belknap, $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-674-24866-3
Wertheim, cofounder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, details the thinking behind America’s pursuit of global dominance from the 1940s to the present day in this impeccably researched debut history. Disputing the notion that Pearl Harbor thrust the U.S. into its role as “chief arbiter of global affairs,” Wertheim contends that government officials decided to pursue world supremacy more than a year earlier, when the fall of France to Nazi forces in June 1940 made clear that America “had to impose order by force or else suffer in another power’s world.” He sketches the history of American internationalism prior to WWII; introduces readers to a plethora of “foreign policy elites,” including FDR’s assistant secretary of state, Adolf Berle, and Whitney Shepardson, a director of the Council of Foreign Relations who spearheaded planning efforts for the postwar world order; and details actions to turn the United Nations into a vehicle for U.S. hegemony. Questioning the wisdom of continuing to pursue “global military dominance” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Wertheim writes that America in the early 21st century has been left with “awesome destructive power and little prospect of peace.” Scholarly yet accessible, this fine-grained account sheds new light on an era and a worldview too often obscured by gauzy patriotism. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/02/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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