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Myths, Models, and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Cultural Shaping of Three Cold Warriors

Stephen W. Twing
ISBN: 978-1-55587-766-8
1998/214 pages/LC: 98-3322


In what ways does national culture influence the direction of U.S. foreign policy? What are the mechanisms through which culture shapes policy outcomes? Stephen Twing’s thoughtful analysis illustrates precisely how certain cultural elements influenced the policy preferences and policymaking behaviors of three Cold War-era statesmen, John Foster Dulles, Averell Harriman, and Robert McNamara.

Drawing on a wealth of primary source materials, Twing traces the evolution of each statesman’s thoughts about world politics. His study lucidly demonstrates that each was powerfully shaped by at least one central U.S. myth or “representative character”—and that all three men behaved in the policymaking arena in ways highly consistent with their culturally influenced worldviews.


Stephen W. Twing is assistant professor of political science at Frostburg State University.


  • Introduction: Culture and U.S. Foreign Policy.
  • Myths and Representative Characters in U.S. Culture.
  • The Cold War Evangelism of John Foster Dulles.
  • The Enterprising Diplomacy of Averell Harriman.
  • Robert McNamara: Cold War Manager.
  • Conclusion: Assessing the Cultural Shaping Process.