In order to grasp American foreign policy, one must understand the theoretical perspectives that undergird it. Critical theories are an important part of our theoretical history, off ering a paradigm with which we can understand U.S. policy across the globe. These theories include, but are not limited to, such approaches as Marxism, dependency theory, and world systems analysis. Their applications to comparative politics and international relations are somewhat unique in that they not only off er a distinct theoretical perspective but also an ideological framework and a prescription for policy.