Defense and Foreign Policy

A Defense and Foreign Policy Reading List

Prepared by Christopher Preble

Read These First

  • Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy by Christopher A. Preble (Libertarianism.org Press, 2019)
    Traces the history of U.S. foreign policy from the American Founding to the present, examining the ideas that have animated it, asking whether America's policy choices have made the world safer and freer, and considering the impact of those choices on freedom at home.
  • Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover) by John Glaser, Christopher A. Preble, and A. Trevor Thrall (Cato Institute, 2019)
    Considers the roots of Donald Trump’s foreign policy, and explores how he failed to reorient America’s approach to the world in a productive direction. Offers recommendations for how Trump’s successors could implement a foreign policy of restraint, based on diplomacy, peaceful cultural exchange, and military non-intervention.

Grand Strategy and Restraint

On War and the State

  • Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy by Christopher Fettweis (Columbia University Press, 2018)
    Investigates how the idea of being number one affects the decision making of America’s foreign-policy elite and tells of the risks and opportunities of the global position of the United States.
  • Twilight of the Titans: Great Power Decline and Retrenchment by Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent (Cornell University Press, 2018)
    A comprehensive rethinking of power transition and hegemonic war theories and a different approach to the policy problems that declining states face.
  • Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition by David C. Hendrickson (Oxford University Press, 2017)
    Critiques U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and shows that the militarization of U.S. foreign policy is deeply at odds with the purposes and principles of the American experiment.
  • The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew J. Bacevich (Oxford University Press, 2005)
    A critical review of the U.S. preoccupation with military power and an explanation of how political and intellectual elites have nurtured the emphasis on force.
  • War and the Rise of the State by Bruce D. Porter (Free Press, 1994)

    A sweeping historical survey that documents how war has contributed to the rise of the state.
  • Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs (Oxford University Press, 1987)
    Analyzes the cumulative growth of government control that occurs during war or economic depression.

On American Foreign Policy

Notable Speeches from American Leaders

On Specific Policy Issues