This chapter analyses the traditional interpretation of US foreign policy during the Cold War. It explains that traditionalism is better understood as an extension of the prevailing pre-World War 2 historiography of American diplomacy. It suggests that as an explanation of US foreign policy, traditionalism is characterised primarily by shallowness and one-dimensionality and that the policy-making process was reduced to the actions of senior government officials guided solely by a handful of key principles, for which they were acting in isolation from all external pressures except perhaps Russian wickedness.
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