Theory Of Modernizationization In America

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Michael Latham’s book provides a broad and concise understanding of the history of US foreign policy, spanning from the colonial era of the 1890s to the 21st century, from the American Philippines to Latin America, India, Iran and North Africa. He explores how the theory of modernization in the USA evolved out of the embers of World War II, with roots in progressive and New Deal thought as well as the rise of social sciences as an academic area, and how its pursuit and implementation dictated American foreign policy in various countries for much of the 20th century. He also discusses the theory and history of modernization through references to intellectuals such as Walt W. Rostow, Lucien Pye and others, to place the theory in the development of history.

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Latham also quotes that the USA had a power and obligation that could change the course of the world, considering that “their society stood at history’s leading edge” (p. 4) and that “the United States had a unique, global mission to transform the world into its own image” (p. 182). In fact, it was intellectuals such as Rostow and Pye that postulated for a foreign policy rooted in modernization theory so as to bring the postcolonial countries in the developing world onto a level similar to that in the West. In this period, Latham states that “planning, development, and foreign assistance could become key elements in a broad strategy to steer nationalist forces toward liberal capitalism” (p. 57). The belief was that said development and planning would allow for

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