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Foreign Affairs is an American journal of international relations and U.S. foreign policy. Published bimonthly since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit, 4,900-member organization, publisher, and think tank that was established in 1921 and specializes in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.
The Council on Foreign Relations was originally composed of 75 members of mainly academic and professional backgrounds. In its first year, the Council sought discourse mainly in meetings at its headquarters in New York City. However, the members of the Council wished to seek a wider audience, and, as a result, began publishing Foreign Affairs in September 1922.
The Council named Professor Archibald Cary Coolidge of Harvard University as the journal's first editor. As Coolidge was unwilling to move from Boston to New York, Hamilton Fish Armstrong a Princeton alumnus and a European correspondent of the New York Evening Post was appointed as a co-editor and was sent to work in New York to handle the mechanical work of publishing the journal. Armstrong chose the light blue color to be the cover of the journal and had his two sisters, Margeret and Helen, design the logo.
The journal Foreign Affairs continued the Journal of International Relations (which ran from 1910 to 1922), which in turn continued the Journal of Race Development (which ran from 1911 to 1919).
Pre–World War II
The lead article in the first issue of Foreign Affairs was written by former Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt's Administration Elihu Root. In the initial article Root wrote that the United States had become a World power and as such that the general population needed to be better informed about international matters. John Foster Dulles, then a lawyer from New York who would later become Secretary of State under Dwight D. Eisenhower, also wrote an article in the initial issue of Foreign Affairs regarding the difficulties surrounding war reparations placed on Germany after the First World War.
Foreign Affairs published a series of articles in 1925 by prominent African American intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois. DuBois, a personal friend of Armstrong, wrote mainly about race issues and imperialism. Although in the early days of publication the journal did not have many female authors, in the late 1930s American journalist for Time Magazine Dorothy Thompson would contribute articles.
Cold War Era
The journal rose to its greatest prominence after World War II when foreign relations became central to United States politics, and the United States became a powerful actor on the global scene. Several extremely important articles were published in Foreign Affairs, including the reworking of George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram", which first publicized the doctrine of containment that would form the basis of American Cold War policy.
Louis Halle, a member of the U.S. Policy Planning Staff, also wrote an influential article in “Foreign Affairs” in 1950. His article, “On a Certain Impatience with Latin America”, created the anticommunist intellectual framework that justified U.S. policy towards Latin America in the Cold War era. Halle’s article described that the encouragement of democracy in postwar Latin America had ended. He demonstrated disgust over Latin America’s inability to assume autonomy and to become democratic. His rationalization towards Latin America was later used to justify U.S. efforts to overthrow the left-leaning Guatemalan government.
Eleven U.S. Secretaries of State have written essays in Foreign Affairs.
Post–Cold War Era
Since the end of the Cold War, and especially after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the journal's readership has grown significantly.
In the November/December 2003 issue of Foreign Affairs, Kenneth Maxwell wrote a review of Peter Kornbluh's book The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, which gave rise to a controversy about Henry Kissinger's relationship to the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and to Operation Condor. Maxwell claims that key Council on Foreign Relations members, acting at Kissinger's behest, put pressure on Foreign Affairs editor, James Hoge, to give the last word in a subsequent exchange about the review to William D. Rogers, a close associate of Kissinger, rather than to Maxwell; this went against established Foreign Affairs policy.
Then-opposition leader and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko caused a stir by publishing an article entitled "Containing Russia" in the May–June 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs accusing Russia under Vladimir Putin of expansionism and urging the rest of Europe to stand against him. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov wrote an article in response, but he withdrew it, citing "censorship" from the Foreign Affairs editorial board. Tymoshenko's party went on to win the 2007 elections and she became Prime Minister once again.
In 2009, Foreign Affairs launched its new Web site, ForeignAffairs.com, which offers the content of the magazine plus numerous online-only features.
Since its inception, Foreign Affairs has had a fairly long book review section. The section originated after Coolidge asked his colleague at Harvard, William L. Langer, a historian and World War I veteran, to run the section. Langer initially had full control over the section and did the reviews entirely by himself. A month before the reviews were due the office in New York would ship approximately one hundred books to Langer to be reviewed and within approximately two weeks he would return the reviews for the section.
By the late 1930s, the review section had been broken down into several subsections. In the magazine's current incarnation (as of April 2006), a few longer reviews, usually written by well-known figures in the field of foreign policy, begin the section, followed by a subsection titled "Recent Books on International Relations" with shorter half-page-long reviews written by eminent academics. The section's final page shows the top fifteen best selling books on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs according to Barnes & Noble's online book sales.
- "Foreign Affairs". britannica.com. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Journals Ranked by Impact: International Relations". 2014 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Social Sciences ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2015.
- History of Foreign Affairs
- History of Foreign Affairs
- Schoultz, Lars (1998). Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy toward Latin America. London: Harvard University Press. pp. 341–342. ISBN 0-674-92275-1.
- A Plot Thickens from the Washington Post