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Book description

This book offers a bold re-interpretation of the prevailing narrative that US foreign policy after the Cold War was a failure. In chapters that retell and re-argue the key episodes of the post-Cold War years, Lynch argues that the Cold War cast a shadow on the presidents that came after it and that success came more from adapting to that shadow than in attempts to escape it. When strategic lessons of the Cold War were applied, presidents fared better; when they were forgotten, they fared worse. This book tells the story not of a revolution in American foreign policy but of its essentially continuous character from one era to the next. While there were many setbacks between the fall of Soviet communism and the opening years of the Trump administration, from Rwanda to 9/11 and Iraq to Syria, Lynch demonstrates that the US remained the world's dominant power.


'Readers will be intrigued and provoked by Timothy J. Lynch’s new book. Insisting that there have been more continuities than discontinuities in America’s post-Cold War foreign policy and that there have been more successes than failures, his arguments should stimulate constructive debate about what has been and what should be US strategy in a complex and challenging world.'

Melvyn P. Leffler - University of Virginia

'Timothy J. Lynch mounts a powerful, witty, and erudite challenge to prevailing assessments of US foreign policy. He argues that America’s international role remains indispensable and durable and makes the case for a remarkable degree of policy continuity since the Cold War.'

Robert J. Lieber - Georgetown University and author of Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order

'Timothy J. Lynch has written a cogent, graceful, provocative account of American foreign policy in the wake of - but, he argues, still powerfully influenced by - the Cold War.'

Michael Mandelbaum - author of The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth

'This wide-ranging and astute account of American foreign policy since 1989 grabs the reader from the opening sentence and never lets go. Whereas others see a sharp break after the collapse of the communist bloc and highlight differences across the last five American presidents, Lynch observes the shadow of the Cold War to the present day, and casts his eye on the continuities that persist across Democratic and Republican administrations.'

James Goldgeier - American University

‘… As a practical examination of US foreign policy actions, this text is a significant contribution to the body of literature on the post-Cold War era.’

J. R. Clardie Source: Choice

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