For reasons that had to do with the fact that the newly born nation had to primarily fight against naval isolation, the US developed a close connection with the Eastern Mediterranean from the early days of its existence. In fact, the first international conflict that the US Marines got involved in was that on the “shores of Tripoli” during the First Barbary War of 1801-05.
Many scientific monographs are written about American foreign policy, yet few of them thoroughly scrutinize the four different schools of thought that influence the decision-making process of US foreign policy (i.e. Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, Jacksonian). On top of that, none up until now has linked the theoretical pillars of American foreign policy with the Eastern Mediterranean.
The new monograph by Professor Spyridon N. Litsas, international relations theorist at the University of Macedonia, produces this linkage, contributing both to the theoretical dimensions of US foreign policy and the American role in the evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean since the early 19th century. “US Foreign Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Power Politics and Ideology Under the Sun,” published by Springer, presents a thorough analysis of the American role in various events that emphatically marked the sociopolitical evolution of the region, such as the First Barbary War, the Truman Doctrine, the Suez Crisis, the emergence of the Greek junta in 1967, the Imia Crisis, and the Greek economic crisis in the summer of 2015. In addition, Professor Litsas offers an extensive analysis of the US-Russian antagonism and of the US-Sino competition, also presenting an analysis of the challenges that Turkish expediency generates for America’s status in the region.
Yet, for me, the most interesting aspect in the book is the presentation of a new school of thought, the Obamian. Litsas introduces this new theoretical pillar, arguing that this represents a conceptual upgrade from the conventional “Liberal Interventionism” that up until today characterizes J.F.K., Bill Clinton or Barack Obama in their foreign policy approach. For more, I encourage all of you to read this utterly absorbing scientific analysis of US foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Foteini Asderaki, PhD, is associate professor of European Integration Theories at the University of Piraeus, and chair of the European Security and Defense College Doctoral School, Brussels.