U.S. Foreign Policy and National Interests

International Relations
Foreign Policy Unit
U.S. Foreign Policy and
National Interests
What is foreign policy? What are some examples of U.S. foreign policy?
1. Foreign Policy is the way a country deals with the outside world.
2. Sometimes it is considered to be the expression of how nation relates to other
3. Almost everything that relates to U.S. interaction with other countries is
considered to be U.S. Foreign policy.
Here are some examples
• When the U.S. trades (or refuses to trade) goods or services with other country
and signs some type of trade agreement.
When the U.S. signs a treaty with another country
When the U.S. makes military alliances with other countries
When the President declares some doctrine or statement about our foreign policy
When the U.S. goes to war with another country
When the U.S. gives economic aid to other countries
When the U.S. helps another country that has been hit by a natural disaster
• When the U.S. refuses to trade with another country (places economic sanctions
on a country)
Which branch of government determines the nations’ foreign policy?
Based on the Constitution, the president formulates foreign policy, with the help of the
Role of the President
1. The President supervises the implementation of the policy and attempts to obtain
the resources to support it. The President conducts foreign policy - decides how
to achieve his goals.
2. The President also directs the department and agencies that play a part in the
foreign policy process. Each President selects his cabinet secretaries for each
foreign policy department.
3. The President also articulates and defines our national interest.
Role of the Congress
1. The Senate is to advise the President in negotiating agreements, to consent to the
final agreements (2/3 of the Senate). The Senate also must approve any
presidential appointments such as the President’s cabinet.
2. The power to declare war also rests with the Congress. There have only been 5
declared wars in the nation’s history.
1. War of 1812
2. Mexican-American War
3. Spanish-American War
4. WWI
What departments and agencies are responsible for foreign affairs?
There are many departments that deal with foreign affairs. The main department is the
Department of State and its head is the Secretary of State. The State department, like
many government agencies, is huge. It has nearly 25,000 people world-wide in just over
250 embassies, missions, consulates and branch offices.
Below are many Departments that deal with foreign affairs. Determine what the titles are
who the secretary or head is for each department under President Barack Obama.
State Department
Secretary of State
Defense Department
Joint Chief of Staff
Homeland Security
National Security
National Intelligence
Treasury Department
Justice Department
If the U.S. President articulates our National Interest, what was considered to be
important to U.S. interest under President George W. Bush?
1. No use of Nuclear weapons against the U.S.
2. Protecting and providing enough energy/oil for the U.S.
3. Survival of U.S. Allies
4. Maintain singular role of leadership in the world
What do you think President Obama might set as his main National Interest(s)?