Book Review - David Milne, Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy

Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy is a different book to admire. It is more academically substantial than Henry Kissinger’ latest book World Order. David Milne is a senior lecturer in modern history at the University of East Anglia. In his new intellectual history of American Diplomacy, Milne presents some of the most important figures in modern American diplomacy and statecraft, including Alfred Thayer Mahan, Woodrow Wilson, Charles Beard, Walter Lippmann, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Henry Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, and Barack Obama. The book starts with the ideas that Alfred Thayer Mahan set forth in The Influence of Sea Power upon History, which have resonated through the ages. In this section, Milne focuses on Mahan’s views on national interest, naval bases, firepower, and lines of communication. Through an analysis of Mahan’s principal argument - that the United States must abandon the small satisfactions of regional hegemony and any hope of attaining economic self-sufficiency - Milne gives an account of the disagreement between Woodrow Wilson and Mahan. According to Milne, Wilson drew little instruction from Mahan’s hardheaded realism and incessant lobbying for greater naval “preparedness”.

Authors: Özgür Tüfekçi