America's Mission argues that the global strength and prestige of democracy today are due in large part to America's impact on international affairs. Tony Smith documents the extraordinary history of how American foreign policy has been used to try to promote democracy worldwide, an effort that enjoyed its greatest triumphs in the occupations of Japan and Germany but suffered huge setbacks in Latin America, Vietnam, and elsewhere. With new chapters and a new introduction and epilogue, this expanded edition also traces U.S. attempts to spread democracy more recently, under presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and assesses America's role in the Arab Spring.
"America's Mission is a book with a mission. It's aim . . . is nothing less than to overthrow the hitherto dominant theory dealing with American foreign affairs and to put in its place a different one."--Theodore Draper, New York Review of Books
"America's Mission provides a comprehensive historical review of the record of American liberal internationalism. Tony Smith argues persuasively that liberal internationalism is not a cultural quirk of unsophisticated Americans. Rather, it has built on powerful global historical trends. The liberal internationalist streak in American foreign policy has, in turn, been responsible for shaping a liberal world order conducive to American security and economic interests."--Francis Fukuyama, New Republic
"[Smith's] account of the 20th century is just about as close to unputdownable as it gets in the genre of political history, and ends up advocating what seems to be an appropriate level of optimism for what remains, after all, a terrifying and chaotic world."--Washington Post
"This work, formidable in scope and scholarship, is a rousing defense of liberal Wilsonian internationalism. . . . [Smith's] historical account [of attempts to implant democracy] is accompanied by a sophisticated analysis of the perspectives on democratization of Marxists, comparativists, and realists, who hold respectively, says the author, that the United States will not, cannot, and should not promote democracy worldwide."--David C. Hendrickson, Foreign Affairs
"Smith elegantly ties explanation of the past to prescription for the future. No other contemporary political scientist . . . has connected those two dimensions to this subject so well."--Mark P. Lagon, Perspectives on Political Science
"This contentious study of US foreign policy is sure to generate new debates about the ideals and realities that inspire and legitimize US foreign policy."--Choice
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Tony Smith: