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World: Foreign Affairs and National Security

American foreign policy, shaped for decades by an ongoing Cold War with the former Soviet Union, is today still adjusting to post-Cold War realities. The dangerous, but relatively simple, bipolar world of two competing nuclear superpowers has dissolved into a unipolar or multipolar world, depending upon one's view of U.S. dominance of the international arena.

U.S. foreign and national security policy has shifted from containing Soviet communism to addressing conflicts in smaller, but still dangerous, hotspots throughout the world. Often in conjunction with international bodies like the United Nations or NATO, much of American foreign policy now focuses on peacekeeping efforts in places like the Kosovo, Iraq, or Afghanistan.

Debates over many foreign policy and national security issues continue to be drawn along traditional left-right lines. A leading example is defense spending, where conservatives call for significant increases and liberals a shifting of resources to domestic needs. But the left and right are themselves each split between internationalists, who believe the U.S. should maintain a strong international presence, and isolationists who believe the U.S. should avoid unnecessary international entanglements. Indeed, this split has a much longer history in American foreign policy, extending well back before the Cold War and World War II, when isolationists opposed U.S. entry until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

American foreign policy, of course, encompasses much more than matters of war and peace. As the world becomes more intertwined, economically, issues of globalism, foreign trade, international investment and foreign aid are all increasingly important. All of these issues are the focus of this section.


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  • CIAO: Journals: Collection of abstracts of current issues of international affairs journals, with links to journal home pages where applicable.
  • Fletcher Forum of World Affairs: Journal of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Selected articles available as PDFs in current and past issues; contribution and distribution information, related links, and subscription form provided.
  • Foreign Affairs: Journal of global current events, foreign policy, and international relations published by the Council on Foreign Relations. Chronological, regional, topical, bibliographical, and searchable indices of current and past reports, as well as reader services and magazine background and history. Some content available in Spanish and Japanese. Links to related sites.
  • Foreign Policy: Flagship magazine of the Washington, D.C.based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Site features full text from current issue, breaking global news headlines, country intelligence, searchable archives and indices, and related links.
  • Harvard International Review: Harvard International Relations Council's journal on foreign affairs. Full text of selected articles; abstracts from current issue with searchable index of past issues; information on subscription and submission to the print edition.
  • National Interest: A quarterly journal of international affairs and diplomacy founded by Irving Kristol. Noted for its issue featuring the "End of History" by Francis Fukuyama.
  • World Policy Journal: Journal of international relations published by the World Policy Institute, an internationalist organization affiliated with New School University. Archives of recent issues, text and discussion on current articles, writer's guidelines, and reader services.

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