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Is the United States seriously overcommitted in its worldwide relationships? Donald Nuechterlein examines the foreign policy priorities of the United States as it enters the latter half of the 1980s and contemplates its future international role; he argues that whether the United States remains a superpower into the twenty-first century depends on how it decides its international priorities in this decade and then marshals its resources to defend and enhance them.

The hard decisions needed to establish priorities among United States military and economic commitments abroad must be made if the United States is to remain financially strong and emotionally committed to an international rather than an isolationist foreign policy. In this book the author uses a conceptual framework he developed earlier to assess the nature and intensity of specific challenges to United States national interests.

Nuechterlein analyzes seven geographical areas of the world in terms of the United States historical interests and suggests the future degree of interest that should be assigned to them. He also classifies thirty countries, in various parts of the world, in terms of their national interest value to the United States in the coming decade. Finally, he assesses the foreign policies of the Reagan administration in light of national interest priorities.

America Overcommitted will be essential reading for makers of American foreign and national security policy, for journalists reporting on international affairs, for scholars seeking better ways to analyze United States foreign policy objectives, and for informed citizens who ask why the United States is involved militarily in all parts of the world. America Overcommitted is thus a guide to better decision making in foreign affairs in this critical decade.

Donald E. Nuechterlein is professor of international affairs at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville. During his long career in government, he has served at home and abroad with the State Department and the US Information Agency and with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






United States foreign relations, National security, Ronald Reagan


United States History

America Overcommitted: United States National Interests in the 1980s
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