Achieving collective action around the “national interest” is essential in foreign policy making. Given the threats inherent in the international system, Americans have an old adage that “politics stops at the water’s edge,” meaning that the nation should come together to achieve its common purposes in foreign policy. In addition to a concept of national interest, historical memory plays a pivotal role in foreign policy. Long ago, George Washington argued that America should have “as little political connection as possible” with foreign nations. Although this, America’s oldest foreign policy principle, still lingers in our political culture, America has nevertheless become an important world power necessarily and strategically tied to the world. This chapter considers the goals of American foreign policy, the relevant players in foreign policy making, the instruments of American foreign policy, and the American role in the world.