Cover image for American diplomacy and the pragmatic tradition
American diplomacy and the pragmatic tradition
Crabb, Cecil Van Meter, 1924-
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [1989]

Physical Description:
302 pages ; 24 cm.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E183.7 .C698 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Choice Review

Crabb, a respected senior political scientist at Louisiana State University who has written numerous books on diplomacy and foreign policy, says here that many studies have examined the nature and implications of "pragmatism" for domestic politics within the US, but that virtually none has focused on the impact of pragmatism on US diplomatic behavior. This book is an effort to fill this gap by tracing the history of this "mode of thought...the only full-scale philosophy to originate in the United States," and by contrasting it to alternative concepts, ideas, and analytical perspectives used to dissect US foreign policy. Case studies focus on the Wilson, FDR, and Kennedy administrations. Chapter 7 enumerates and elaborates 14 "pragmatically derived principles {{that}} govern American attitudes and actions toward the outside world." (Wilson would probably have appreciated that this number turned out to be 14.) Chapter 8, conceding that there has been substantial disagreement over precisely what the philosophy of "pragmatism" means, concludes with some of the "problems, perils and pitfalls" but also some of the "profits and payoffs" from "pragmatic diplomacy." An easily readable, thoughtful, and balanced account, this book should be of interest to students of international relations, foreign policy, and diplomacy, and to specialists in the field known as American studies. Crabb's book will not revolutionize or galvanize any of these areas of inquiry, but it sheds a relatively benign and gentle light on what has often been a tumultuous subject acrimoniously debated by leaders, citizens, and scholars alike. -V. Davis, University of Kentucky