In this analysis, I use government documents, presidential statements, and opinion polls to chart how American goals of independence moved in and out of different contexts, and the ways this movement reflected structural as well as domestic conditions. Part one takes a broad look at manifestations of the ideal prior to the end of the Cold War, focusing primarily on the founding of the nation and the twenty years following the end of World War II. In this period of history, independence refers primarily (but spasmodically) to a political status, and becomes increasingly abstract. Part two brings this kind of analysis to bear on the world from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present. The two Bush administrations and the Clinton administration have dealt with this abstract independence as an economic status, as well as a basis for political intervention. As this era continues to unfold, the crisis of independence helps to explain current tensions between fostering international independence and securing American energy independence.
[...] Clinton's Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union. January 27th Internet. Waltz, Kenneth N. “Structural Realism after the Cold from America Unrivaled: The Future of the Balance of Power. John Ikenberry ed. Cornell University Press 2007. p American Image: A Symposium.” The American Interest, Summer 2006. George W. Bush's Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union. January 28th Internet. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29645 Mansfield, Edward D., and Snyder, Jack. [...]
[...] For example, Pete Domenici, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, opened a March 2006 hearing on energy independence by announcing that I am going to try to resist the lofty rhetoric and arbitrary goals that have historically tempted many when discussing this issue of energy independence We particularly need to reduce our reliance on oil from unstable regions of the world whose values and priorities are often in conflict with America's initiatives and place in the world. His admonition of “lofty and arbitrary goals” stems from a concern that independence has been interpreted, bandied about, and recycled by many policymakers without explicit definitions of from whom or from what independence is being sought. [...]
[...] Politicians struggled to reconsider the status of American and international independence within this framework. Under these emergent conditions, President Bush (senior) celebrated the creation of nations out of the former Soviet satellites, and championed their independence as if it were an economic public good. In 1992, he told the UN that move from aid, what I would call aid dependency, to economic partnership, we propose to alter fundamentally the focus of U.S. assistance programs to building strong, independent economies that can become contributors to a healthy, growing global economy.” This statement ushered in a panoply of American attempts to build institutions, open markets, and increase the pace of globalization. [...]
[...] As this era continues to unfold, the crisis of independence helps to explain current tensions between fostering “international independence” and securing American “energy independence.” Part Independence in the Past During the Cold War, various U.S. presidents returned to the principles of independence set forth in 1776 to establish an historical lineage of legitimacy for their policies. However, this independence was defined unevenly and with different purposes in mind. In this section, I trace the changing constructions and applications of ideas of independence from the beginning of the republic to the end of the Cold War. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee