American Trade and Power in the 1960s is a timely examination of the success and failure of United States trade policy under presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Assessing a critical decade in postwar economic relations, Thomas W. Zeiler shows trade policy to be the decisive factor hastening America's economic decline vis-a-vis Western Europe and Japan.
By the early 1960s, the international commercial might of the U.S. had begun to diminish as a result of the increased strength of the six-member European Economic Community and a persistent balance-of-payments deficit. Believing that America must either "trade or fade," Kennedy proposed a visionary foreign trade bill as a way to reinvigorate the U.S. economy and maintain the Western alliance against the Soviet
With an astute reading of previously unused documents, Zeiler provides a fascinating description of how Kennedy skillfully juggled powerful protectionist interests with his own more liberal trade sentiments to win passage of the bill. Illustrating the harsh realities faced by the U.S. in a world where its economic dominance was no longer assured, Zeiler also presents a masterful compendium of the GATT talks known as the Kennedy Round.
In a narrative noteworthy for its clarity, theoretical sophistication, and scrupulous attention to detail, Zeiler shows how U.S. trade policy was thwarted by rising EEC integration and Gaullist obstructionism. The GATT talks conclusively demonstrated that "American hegemony had ended." American Trade and Power in the 1960s brilliantly illuminates the roots of America's economic decline.