"Hard Line" traces the history of Republican Party foreign policy since World War II by focusing on the conservative leaders who shaped it. Colin Dueck closely examines the political careers and foreign-policy legacies of Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. He shows how Republicans shifted away from isolationism in the years leading up to World War II and oscillated between realism and idealism during and after the cold war. Yet despite these changes, Dueck argues, conservative foreign policy has been characterized by a hawkish and intense American nationalism, and presidential leadership has been the driving force behind it.
What does the future hold for Republican foreign policy? "Hard Line" demonstrates that the answer depends on who becomes the next Republican president. Dueck challenges the popular notion that Republican foreign policy today is beholden to economic interests or neoconservative intellectuals. He shows how Republican presidents have been granted remarkably wide leeway to define their party's foreign policy in the past, and how the future of conservative foreign policy will depend on whether the next Republican president exercises the prudence, pragmatism, and care needed to implement hawkish foreign policies skillfully and successfully. "Hard Line" reveals how most Republican presidents since World War II have done just that, and how their accomplishments can help guide future conservative presidents.
"In Hard Line, a masterful account of the evolution of Republican foreign policy over the last 70 years, Colin Dueck identifies several historical factions within the Republican party: the isolationists, who are heirs to Sen. Robert Taft; the realists, who continue the approach best-identified with the presidency of Richard Nixon; and the hawks and nationalists, who acquired greater prominence in the Reagan years and were best-represented in the administration of George W. Bush."--Nikolas K. Gvosdev, World Politics Review "Colin Dueck's thorough analysis of the foreign-policy views of Republican political leaders since World War II has two aspects. As history, it is informative, objective, and broadly useful... He presents a careful, detailed policy analysis of Republican presidents starting with Eisenhower, and includes leaders like Goldwater and Taft who significantly shaped party thinking even without the Oval Office... [A]s we enter another presidential season, it is worth remembering Dueck's central insight about the importance of presidential discretion in shaping foreign policy."--John Bolton, former U.S. representative to the United Nations, National Review "[W]hat a remarkable job of historical synthesis this work embodies. I have hurriedly added large sections of it to my class in the politics of US foreign policy and am sure many other teachers will do likewise."--Timothy J. Lynch, H-Diplo ISSF Roundtable Reviews "Dueck has written a book that combines solid scholarship with an explicitly political message... [A] thoughtful, well-informed, nuanced, and highly readable analysis."--Choice "Those wishing to learn more about how Republicans view the world and America's place in it should read Hard Line. Clear, balanced and comprehensive, the book provides an interesting perspective on how Republicans develop and implement their foreign policy vision... Hard Line is an impressive book ..."--John Shaw, Washington Diplomat "Hard Line is an impressive account of the history of Republican and conservative foreign policy thinking over the past 60 years."--Tom Switzer, American Review "Colin Dueck's superbly written history of Republican American presidents since the end of World War II is a fine introduction to American conservatism and American presidential politics alike... Dueck brilliantly conflates the recent history of political thought, the emergence of new and powerful lobbies, party and domestic politics, and public diplomacy with the performance of Republican presidents."--Dustin Dehez, Journal of Global Analysis "Hard Line is an incisive and balanced examination of Republican foreign policy over the past six decades and a persuasive argument on behalf of adherence to a prudent conservative realism as the cornerstone of future US foreign policy in a dangerous world."--Mackubin Thomas Owens, Journal of Strategic Studies "Hard Line provides a solid overview of Republican foreign policy since World War II. Its author synthesizes numerous well-known sources into a readable narrative."--Sarah Mergel, Journal of American Studies