The American Way of Seeking Security: Ideology and Pragmatism

  • John Owen
Part of the Asia Today book series (ASIAT)


Does America have a historical tradition concerning international order, particularly in the areas of alliances, arms control, and nuclear weapons? Can we locate a long-term way of American thinking about national security that will help us project the country’s future security preferences and policies toward China?


Foreign Policy Nuclear Weapon Liberal Democracy Regime Type Domestic Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  3. Stewart Patrick and Stepard Forman, ed., Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Jeffrey W. Legro, Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies and International Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence (New York: Routledge, 2005)Google Scholar
  6. Robert Kagan, Dangerous Nation (New York: Knopf, 2006).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011)Google Scholar
  8. John G. Ruggie, “Third Try at World Order? America and Multilateralism after the Cold War,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 109, No. 4 (Autumn 1994): 553–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 6.
    John Lewis Gaddis, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003)Google Scholar
  10. Hilde Eliassen Restad, “Old Paradigms in History Die Hard in Political Science: U.S. Foreign Policy and American Exceptionalism,” American Political Thought, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2012): 53–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 7.
    Tony Smith, “National Security Liberalism and American Foreign Policy,” in Michael Cox, G.John Ikenberry, and Takashi Inoguchi, eds., American Democracy Promotion: Impulses, Strategies, and Impacts (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 85–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 9.
    John M. Owen IV, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change 1510–2010 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), chapter 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 11.
    Mark N. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789–1989 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. Anatol Rapaport (New York: Penguin, 1982)Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Suzanne Werner, “Absolute and Limited War: The Possibility of Foreign-Imposed Regime Change,” International Interactions, Vol. 22, No. 1 (1996): 67–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Randolph Siverson, “Nasty or Nice? Political Systems, Endogenous Norms, and the Treatment of Adversaries,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 41, No. 1 (February 1997): 175–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Henk E. Goemans, War and Punishment: The Causes of War Termination and the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 14.
    Bruce Cronin, Community under Anarchy: Transnational Identity and the Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    Samuel P. Huntington, American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  20. 16.
    Lawrence R. Jacobs and Benjamin I. Page, “Who Influences U.S. Foreign Policy?” American Political Science Review, Vol. 99 (2005): 107–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 17.
    Ikenberry, After Victory; Daniel W. Drezner, All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 18.
    For more on the links between economics and security policy, see Michael Mastanduno, “Economics and Security in Statecraft and Scholarship,” International Organization, Vol. 52 (1998): 825–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 20.
    John M. Owen IV, Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  24. 21.
    Tomz, Michael, and Jessica Weeks, “Public Opinion and the Democratic Peace,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 107, No. 3 (2013): 849–865.Google Scholar
  25. 22.
    On the security dilemma, see John Herz, “Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, Vol. 2 (1950): 157–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Robert Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, Vol. 30 (1978): 167–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 24.
    Samuel P. Huntington, “American Ideals versus American Institutionsr,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 97, No. 1 (1982): 1–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. John M. Owen IV and Michael Poznansky, “When Does America Drop Dictators?” European Journal of International Relations (2014), Vol. 20, No. 4 (2014): 1072–1099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 25.
    John M. Owen IV, “Transnational Liberalism and U.S. Primacy,” International Security, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Winter 2001/2002): 121.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    H. G. Allen, Great Britain and the United States: A History of Anglo-American Relations (1783–1952) (London: Odhams Press, 1952), 681–687.Google Scholar
  31. 34.
    Rachel A. Epstein, “NATO Enlargement and the Spread of Democracy: Evidence and Expectations,” Security Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (2005): 63–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 35.
    See Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    C. William Walldorf, Just Politics: Human Rights and the Foreign Policies of Great Powers (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008)Google Scholar
  34. Mark Peceny, Democracy at the Point of Bayonets (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  35. 45.
    Detlev F. Vagts, “The Hague Conventions and Arms Control,” American Journal of International Law Vol. 94, No. 1 (January 2000): 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 46.
    Gregory C. Kennedy, “The 1930 London Naval Conference and Anglo-American Maritime Strength, 1927–1930,” in B. J. C. McKercher, ed., Arms Limitation and Disarmament: Restraints on War, 1899–1939 (Westport: Praeger, 1992), 154.Google Scholar
  37. 61.
    David Shambaugh, China’s Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  38. 64.
    Cheng Yung-Nien, “The Chinese Model of Development: An International Perspective,” Social Sciences in China, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2010): 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 65.
    Robert Kagan, The Return of History and the End of Dreams (New York: Random House, 2008)Google Scholar
  40. Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, “The Myth of the Authoritarian Model,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 1 (January/February 2008): 68–84Google Scholar
  41. Charles A. Kupchan, “The Normative Foundations of Hegemony and the Coming Challenge to Pax Americana,” Security Studies Vol. 23, No. 2 (June 2014): 219–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 73.
    St. Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)Google Scholar
  43. 76.
    On the fears of great powers experiencing relative decline, see Dale C. Copeland, The Origins of Major Wars (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  44. 83.
    David E. Sanger, “Obama Order Sped up Wave of Cyberattacks against Iran,” New York Times, 1 June 2012, (accessed June 7, 2012). More generally, see Richard A. Clarke, Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do about It (New York: Harper Collins, 2010).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© G. John Ikenberry, Wang Jisi, and Zhu Feng 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Owen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations