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A historical review of the internal debate on U.S. foreign policy since 1947, with a definition of new premises. A basic foreign policy consensus (“containing communism”) has existed until recently, defined as: U.S. security is threatened primarily by Soviet expansion, aided by worldwide communist aggression, to which critical obstacles must be supplied by the United States. Serious challenge of the validity of this framework of foreign policy brings us to a point of decision regarding new premises. Decline of the anticommunism ideology, if effected, can be met either by (1) withdrawal, with deceptively secure isolation, by leaving survival to the fittest, or (2) recognition that U.S. strength should aim further than self-protection — that it should aid in breaking down artificial international barriers by sharing the surpluses of U.S. energy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.