In This Review
Consensus and the American Mission

Consensus and the American Mission

By Brian Klunk

University Press of America, 1986, 190 pp.

The author tests the proposition that the Vietnam War was a watershed in the history of American foreign policy by contrasting and comparing the ideas and policies of two leaders who believed in the idea of an "American mission" in history: John Foster Dulles (pre-Vietnam) and Jimmy Carter (post-Vietnam). This is an interesting, although slightly contrived, exercise. Mr. Klunk is harder on Carter than on Dulles, but he concludes that in both cases a sense of mission was an inadequate basis for policymaking.