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For the Present and the Future: The Well-Conceived, Successful, and Farsighted Statecraft of President Theodore Roosevelt

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“It is difficult to escape the conclusion,” this historian has claimed in previous writings, “that in the foreign policy arena [Theodore] Roosevelt was probably the greatest of all US presidents.” Such a laudatory interpretation is built on an assessment of both the record achieved by Rooseveltian diplomacy during the years of Roosevelt's presidency and the long-term significance of TR's statecraft. In its own time Roosevelt's foreign policy success grew out of a sophisticated understanding of a complex international environment, a well-conceived perspective on America's interests within that environment, and a multitude of attributes in the realm of execution that usually enabled Roosevelt, even in the most challenging cases, to attain the results he was seeking. As to its long-range importance, Rooseveltian statecraft was anchored to three precepts that might be labeled the “precept of broadly defined US interests,” the “precept of US power,” and the “precept of Anglo-American leadership.” By conducting a foreign policy grounded on these precepts, Roosevelt - certainly well ahead of the great majority of his contemporaries - anticipated the type of foreign policy approach that would become and has remained the foundation for the practice of statecraft by many Republican and Democratic presidents and their most influential advisers from 1939 to the present day.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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