This course will provide a context for analyzing "The War on Terror." It will focus upon post-World War II US foreign policy and the cultural context in which it has been conceptualized and formulated. We will begin with a brief examination of the roots of this conceptualization, using as our text William Appleman Williams' classic study, Empire as a Way of Life. Here, we will explore the idea that has always been categorically rejected by mainstream US historiography: that empire lies at the very foundation of the U.S. and remains at the core of how it acts in the world. We will then proceed to look at a series of U.S. interventions in the Third World during the period that Henly Luce defined as "The American Century," concentrating on the decades long U.S. intervention in Vietnam, and examining the Gulf War of 1991. We will conclude by considering the implications of what we have been studying for understanding what began as the "U.S. war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the implications 0f these involvements for the future ( if there is one)_ of the "American Century."