Name the three greatest moments in the history of American statecraft. The first, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, is surely beyond debate. For a mere $15 million and without shedding a drop of blood, President Thomas Jefferson more than doubled the size of the United States. With a brilliant mix of bluff and bluster, Jefferson not only outmaneuvered three great powers--France, Britain, and Spain--but also removed them as threats to the future expansion of the young republic. Those Americans "conquer without war," wrote the French envoy Louis Marie Turreau, expressing his surly admiration for the clever diplomacy of the Yankee upstarts.
The decade after World War II also deserves a five-star ranking. Indeed, 1945-55 is the golden age of American foreign policy, even though gainsayers would downplay the quality of U.S. diplomacy, pointing to America's towering predominance.-1 In those years the United States focused on building a strong institutional framework,