The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn Steil

AuthorMichael De Groot
Publication Date01 December 2019
Date01 December 2019
SubjectBook Reviews
They carried the same convictions and values from childhood to the highest of‌f‌ice.
Through process-tracing, Bashevkin shows where their views prevailed on certain
decisions and where they did not. But in the end, were their experiences dif‌ferent
because they were women? Bashevkin implicitly tackles the challenge by relying on
counterfactual reasoning to make the case that women would have been treated
dif‌ferently in this context had they been men. The best example comes from a
presidential debate on foreign policy between George W. Bush and Al Gore,
when Condoleezza Rice was praised by an ‘‘Oh baby’’ for helping her candidate
prepare for unfamiliar territory.
A third important insight is the instrumentalization of feminist language in
foreign policy decisions. Considering that there is a gender gap when it comes to
support for wars (women tend to be less supportive of military intervention than
men), presenting military intervention as helping women can generate more sup-
port. Whether it is helping women and girls go to school in Afghanistan, aiding
starving women and children in Somalia, or uncovering the systematic rape of
women in the Balkans during the 1990s, protecting women is often used as a
justif‌ication for war. Bashevkin’s work thus inspires new questions about whether
military interventions of this kind truly improve the conditions of women, and
work in support of broader gender equality goals. With the benef‌it of hindsight,
policymakers should think more deeply about the implications of so-called feminist
foreign and defence policy principles, and whether those policies truly promote
greater gender equality once implemented.
This book makes a signif‌icant contribution to feminist international relations.
Bashevkin features the multiplicity of feminisms that populate this debate about
how women shape international politics. Bashevkin also shows that the treatment
of women within the literature is indeed quite dif‌ferent from that of men, either by
their absence or in the ways they are portrayed. I do hope that Bashevkin’s book
will inspire more scholars to delve into the world of feminist historiography, not
only to complete the empirical picture, but to engage in further myth-busting about
women’s contributions to foreign policy.
Benn Steil
The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018. 624 pp. $35.00 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0237-0
Reviewed by: Michael De Groot (, Indiana University, Bloomington,
Indiana, USA
‘‘Marshall Plan dollars did save the world,’’ claimed state department of‌f‌icial
Charles Kindleberger in his memoirs.
Few initiatives in the history of US foreign
policy are as widely praised. Steeped in the legend of American altruism, the
2. Charles Kindleberger, Marshall Plan Days (Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin, 1987), 247.
616 International Journal 74(4)

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