Cover: Foreign Attachments: The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy, from Harvard University PressCover: Foreign Attachments in PAPERBACK

Foreign Attachments

The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy

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Product Details


$31.00 • £24.95 • €28.00

ISBN 9780674015876

Publication Date: 02/15/2005


208 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


With the end of the Cold War, the United States has lost the one overwhelming objective that dominated its foreign policy for more than four decades, and is left as the only superpower. As a result, foreign policy is up for grabs. Ethnic groups, and also economic interests, have moved in to capture and suborn American power to serve their own purposes. But are their purposes American purposes? Who speaks for America? Smith argues that in this situation of no overriding national priorities, American foreign policy is increasingly susceptible to the undue influence of ethnic interests. This is a politically and intellectually important thesis, and Smith sets it forth in an extremely well-argued and well-written book.—Samuel P. Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

To a subject that usually generates more heat than light, Tony Smith, in this landmark study, brings cool analysis and illuminating insights.—Ronald Steel, author of Temptations of a Superpower (Harvard)

Foreign Attachments is a thought-provoking and timely book, which deftly shows the interconnections between American pluralism and U.S. foreign relations. Smith explores the difficult question of whether or not there is an essential national interest removed from the vagaries of party and ethnic interests. His book is necessary reading for anyone interested in the conjucture of race, ethnicity, and foreign policy at the beginning of the twenty-first century.—Ibrahim K. Sundiata, Howard University

In showing how ethnic groups influence, and often try to dictate, American foreign policy, and how the structure of American politics facilitates their access to and control of power, Smith raises a vital issue: how inevitable, indeed desirable, pluralism can be kept compatible with the preservation of national unity and citizenship, how national identity can continue to prevail over ethnic identity. This is an important contribution to the public philosophy of American politics.—Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University

Tony Smith’s Foreign Attachments is an important and provocative book about central issues in American democracy. It should be one of the most talked-about books of the year, and will be required reading for anyone who wants to take part in the conversation.—David Fromkin, author of Kosovo Crossing: American Ideals Meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefield

Ethnic lobbies, while not new in American politics, have grown in influence since the end of the cold war, says Tony Smith...[Smith] agrees that ethnic groups have a right to organize to promote their values and interests...[but] ethnic groups have an obligation to recognize that national interests may conflict with their preferences...Throughout, Smith urges supporters of multiculturalism in foreign policy to be more ’self-critical’ of how they talk about democratic citizenship.—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education

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