Publication Date

2008

Disciplines

Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Abstract

Walter Russell Mead places this volume (which builds on Special Providence) into the context of the ideological and theological debates that have shaped American history. Like Michael Oakeshott and various conservatives, Mead depicts the contemporary world as the outworking of a “modern temper” or an “Enlightenment project,” two phases of which he focuses on: Fordism (resembling Lewis Mumford’s modern megamachine) and millennial capitalism. Mead’s identification of several competing schools of thought or dispositions in chapter six is somewhat comparable to earlier “models of historical interpretation,” such as Daniel Elazar’s three American “political cultures” and David Hackett Fischer’s four “British folkways” in America. The key to understanding Mead’s complex and sophisticated analysis of American foreign policy is to pay careful attention to how he defines his terminology, how he distinguishes between the major political and cultural dispositions, how they interact with each other, and how he frames the issues that been intensifying the current debates over American foreign policy .