Can the United States Lead the World? Chapter 4 Foreign Policy

Can the United States Lead the World?
Chapter 4
I. Foreign Policy – The way a country deals with the outside world
II. From Intervention to Caution
A. U.S. interventionist from WWII to Vietnam in the late 1960s
1. Interventionism = willingness to use military force overseas
2. Hawks = interventionists, favor war
3. Ended with defeats in Vietnam
B. U.S. noninterventionist during and after Vietnam
1. Noninterventionist = Unwillingness to use military force overseas
2. Doves = noninterventionists, favor peace
3. Ended under Reagan
C. From Reagan to the end of the Cold War, the U.S. was interventionist again
D. Since the Cold War, the U.S. has returned to noninterventionism
III. Thoughts on Interventionism
A. Is noninterventionism still interventionism? Yes, according to Talleyrand.
B. What causes these pendulum swings? Success and failure
C. Nicholas Spykman – “Shall we protect our interests by defense on this side of
the water or by active participation in the lands across the oceans?”
IV. Are Americans Basically Isolationists?
A. Overt interventionism and international responsibility hide isolationist
B. Post WWII – Majority appear interventionist though this changes when money
and deaths become real
C. Isolationism v. Noninterventionism
1. Isolationism = the desire to avoid contact with the rest of the world
2. Noninterventionism = seeks friendship by maintaining military and
financial neutrality
D. Elite v. Mass
1. Elite = the top or most influential people
a. Better-educated
b. more aware of world events and their potential effects on U.S.
c. interventionist
2. Mass = the rest of us
a. less educated
b. believe overseas have little impact in U.S.
c. isolationist
V. The Continuity Principle
A. New presidents generally follow the foreign policies of their predecessor
1. George W. Bush kept troops in Kosovo
2. Obama continues the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
B. Why continuity?
1. Threats haven’t changed
2. Not as easy as it seems to start or end conflicts – despite rhetoric
3. Budget deficits
VI. A Contrary Congress
A. Congress’ role in foreign affairs is undefined
B. Only Congress can declare war, but president is commander-in-chief
C. 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution gave Johnson unlimited foreign policy power
D. War Powers Act (1973) – President can use troops overseas for ninety days
without congressional approval
1. Presidents avoid reporting that soldiers have been sent into hostilities
2. Reagan declared that Beirut was a “peacekeeping” mission
3. Act is defective and unenforceable
E. President can take diplomatic and military steps that lead the country into
hostilities…Congress just usually goes along since the troops are already there.
F. Congress can do other things to delay or block foreign policy – see p. 67
VII. Is the Structure Defective?
A. Democracies must worry about public opinion, tyrannies don’t
B. Top U.S. officials are talented amateurs, not career foreign servicemen
C. Too many (over 12) departments and agencies focused on foreign affairs =
confusion and overlap
D. Department of Homeland Security (2002) was supposed to link agencies, but
FBI and CIA not under its control
E. National Security Council (NSC)
1. Members
a. National Security Advisor – presidential appointee
b. President
c. Vice president
d. Secretary of state
e. Secretary of defense
2. Advantages
a. close to the president
b. small group can move fast
c. no leaks
d. access to all info
3. Disadvantages
a. everyone doesn’t always have equal say
b. Secretary of state often loses out to NSA
VIII. Do Bureaucracies Make Foreign Policy?
A. Bureaucracy – Career civil servants organized into various departments
B. Bureaucracies carry out policy, they don’t create it
IX. The Unilateralist Temptation
A. Unilateralism – Foreign policies without allied help or consultation.
1. Avoid treaties that restrict sovereignty - U.S. hallmark
2. Belief that if U.S. needs something, it pressures for support from allies
3. It does not depend on allies…so U.S. goes ahead regardless
4. Pros
a. No waiting for allies who take too long
b. Allies might be wrong or too scared to do anything
5. Cons
a. Leads to anger and “counterweight” system
b. can lead to isolationism which has lead to global chaos
B. Multilateralism – Foreign policies that consult and involve several countries
1. UN and NATO are prime examples
2. Pros
a. Makes others feel included (no counterweight)
b. Greater support from allies
c. No chance of isolationism
3. Cons
a. Wait too long for allies
b. What if they don’t go agree?
X. To Lead or Not to Lead?
A. Application of some power at the right time can head off threats to peace
B. Isolationism will allow threats to grow until they require drastic measures