For almost five years, Franklin Roosevelt's administration tried to keep America from being drawn into war with Japan. To understand why executive efforts failed, Utley analyzes the ideas and motives not only of the men at the top but also of the bureaucrats. He concludes that the United States ultimately acted on pragmatic views rooted in deeply held economic beliefs. Although Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull were important decision makers, Utley finds that a powerful bureaucracy increasingly influenced U.S. foreign policy. This group was less concerned with defending China or with preserving treaties than with promoting a particular dogma. Japan sought to secure markets and raw materials by seizing control of Asia. Rejecting the advice of moderates, American bureaucrats rigidly insisted upon a "liberal-commercial" world order that would permit free trade and free investment for all nations, particularly the United States. Despite the intentions of the president and the secretary of state, Washington hawks were eventually able to maneuver economic warfare that led to military hostilities.