The Hero's Journey Toward a Second American Century:

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The hero's journey is a process of (re)discovery of the principles that make up the national identity of a country. These principles must then be applied in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. For the seventh time in its history, America has discovered a grand synthesis of power and morality in projecting its resources and principles into the global arena. This makes possible a more assertive, moral foreign policy course in responding to a range of foreign policy challenges. Of these challenges, Salla asserts, the most profound in terms of the scale of human suffering around the planet is that concerning violations of the rights of ethnic minorities.

Ethnic conflicts and the humanitarian crises and massive human rights violations they generate form a foreign policy challenge that will preoccupy the minds of policy makers for much of the 21st century. NATO's intervention in the Kosovo crisis is the high water mark for America's seventh hero's journey. The intervention sends a decisive signal to all governments that the U.S. and its allies will no longer remain inactive in the face of states attempting to militarily repress the aspirations of their ethnic minorities. This moral interventionism can safely be extended well into the 21st century if policy makers wisely combine the moral principles and foreign policy challenges that make up both the Second American Century and America's (Seventh) Hero's journey. This provocative analysis will be of interest to all scholars, students, and researchers involved with the development of American foreign policy.

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About the Author:

MICHAEL E. SALLA is an Assistant Professor in the School of International Service, American University. Previously he was a lecturer at the Australian National University. He has been involved in non-offical peacemaking efforts for ethnic conflicts in East Timor and Kosovo since 1995. He is the author of Islamic Radicalism, Muslim Nations and the West and co-editor of Why the Cold War Ended (Greenwood Press, 1995).

Review:

"Based on a Hegelean conception of the state as a morally evolving, self-conscious political entity, Salla applies Joseph Campbell's theory of the hero's journey to analyze US foreign policy from 1764 to the present. The journey begins prior to US independence when three key national values formed: liberty, representative democracy, and the rule of law. These three principles are at the "heart of American identity as opposed to short-term national interests." Salla traces the development of these values by dividing US diplomatic history into seven "hero's journeys." Each journey is examined by using Joseph Campbell's understanding of the monomyth of hero: call to adventure, great remembering, return to society, and deep forgetting. Salla uses the four steps to understand progressive and isolationist tendencies in US foreign policy. Currently in its seventh hero's journey, the US continues to spread America's values through the promotion of democracy. Salla's work is a good choice for students of US foreign policy, US diplomatic history, and psychoanalysis. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above."-CHOICE

?Based on a Hegelean conception of the state as a morally evolving, self-conscious political entity, Salla applies Joseph Campbell's theory of the hero's journey to analyze US foreign policy from 1764 to the present. The journey begins prior to US independence when three key national values formed: liberty, representative democracy, and the rule of law. These three principles are at the "heart of American identity as opposed to short-term national interests." Salla traces the development of these values by dividing US diplomatic history into seven "hero's journeys." Each journey is examined by using Joseph Campbell's understanding of the monomyth of hero: call to adventure, great remembering, return to society, and deep forgetting. Salla uses the four steps to understand progressive and isolationist tendencies in US foreign policy. Currently in its seventh hero's journey, the US continues to spread America's values through the promotion of democracy. Salla's work is a good choice for students of US foreign policy, US diplomatic history, and psychoanalysis. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above.?-CHOICE

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