Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

American Umpire, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

Reviewed by Meena Bose

BUY

 

Studies of American foreign policy wrestle with identifying grand themes that illustrate patterns in choices and policymaking, while also recognizing differ­ences that may be unique to an event or result from specific circumstances that often are not replicated. Cast very broadly, the contrast reveals an underlying difference in conceptual approach by political scientists versus historians. As Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman writes, historians “emphasize contingency, complex­ity, and the unanticipated … Few principles apply all the time” (p. 5). Her monumental work, American Umpire, does both: It argues persuasively that history shows the United States acting as an “umpire” rather than an “empire” in world affairs, and then applies this concept to American foreign policy from the eighteenth century to the present.

By “umpire,” Hoffman means that the United States limits foreign inter­vention to specific goals. The United States stays out of international conflicts until action is needed to require other states to comply with rules that are widely recognized as having “broad legitimacy” (p. 17). Since the late eighteenth century, the United States and other nation‐

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Presidential Leverage: Presidents, Approval, and the American State, Daniel E. Ponder Reviewed by Meena Bose

The Steady Leadership of George H.W. Bush: A Review Essay of Destiny and Power, Meena Bose

Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy, Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Michael E. O’Hanlon and Martin S. Indyk Reviewed by Meena Bose

Politics and Strategy: Partisan Ambition and American Statecraft, Peter Trubowitz Reviewed by Meena Bose

more by this author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Presidential Power and Impeachment

American Political Institutions after Watergate--A Discussion
DEMETRIOS CARALEY, CHARLES V. HAMILTON, ALPHEUS T. MASON, ROBERT A. McCAUGHEY, NELSON W. POLSBY, JEFFREY L. PRESSMAN, ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER, JR., GEORGE L. SHERRY, AND TOM WICKER

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Extending the U.S. Umbrella and Increasing Chances of War   THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: EXTENDING THE U.S. UMBRELLA AND INCREASING CHANCES OF WAR

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

Big Challenges for the 2020 U.S. Census
November 14, 2019
New York, NY

Members of the Academy of Political Science are invited to attend this timely panel discussion on the 2020 census.

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS