Chapter Study Outline
The Nature of Foreign Policy
- Foreign policy refers to the programs and policies that determine America’s relations with other nations and foreign entities. Foreign policy includes diplomacy, military and security policy, international human rights policies, and various forms of economic policy.
- The foreign policy arena seems similar to America’s other policy domains. The policy makers are the president, Congress, and the bureaucracy. These institutions and interest groups often disagree about how to deal with foreign policy. The institutional powers of the presidency give presidents and their allies an advantage over political forces based in Congress, although Congress is not without resources of its own.
The Goals of Foreign Policy
- U.S. foreign policy has three goals: security, prosperity, and the creation of a better world.
- Today, American security policy is concerned not only with the actions of other nations but also with the activities of terrorist groups and other hostile non-state actors, as well as with food and energy supplies and transportation and electronic infrastructures.
- Throughout its history, the United States has adopted or consider several different security policies, including isolationism, deterrence, preventive war, appeasement, and preemption.
- America’s international economic policies are intended to expand employment opportunities in the United States, maintain access to foreign energy supplies at a reasonable cost, promote foreign investment in the United States, and lower the prices Americans pay for goods and services.
- International environmental policy, international human rights policy, and international peacekeeping, in addition to American contributions to international organizations, are important U.S. foreign policy goals but are often forced to give way if they interfere with security or economic policy goals.
Who Makes American Foreign Policy?
- All foreign policy decisions must be made and implemented in the name of the president.
- After 9/11, George W. Bush initiated a new foreign policy stance known as the Bush Doctrine, based on the idea that the United States should take preemptive action against threats to its national security.
- The key players in foreign policy in the bureaucracy are the secretaries of state, defense, homeland security, and treasury; the Joint Chiefs of Staff (especially the chair); and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Although the Senate traditionally has more foreign-policy power than the House, since World War II the House and the Senate have both been important players in foreign policy.
- Many types of interest groups help shape American foreign policy. These groups include economic interest groups, ethnic or national interest groups, and human rights and environmental interest groups.
- Individual or group influence in foreign policy varies from case to case and from situation to situation.
The Instruments of Modern American Foreign Policy
- Diplomacy is the representation of a government to other foreign governments, and it is the foreign policy instrument to which all other instruments must be subordinated.
- The United Nations is an instrument whose usefulness to American foreign policy can too easily be underestimated.
- The international monetary structure, which consists of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, was created to avoid the economic devastation that followed World War I.
- Economic aid has been important as an instrument of American foreign policy, but it was put together as a balance between traditional values and the modern needs of a great, imperial power.
- After World War II, the United States recognized the importance of collective security, and subsequently entered into multilateral collective security treaties and other bilateral treaties.
6 . Military force is sometimes necessary, but it is a response of last resort because of its extreme risk and high cost in both financial and human terms.
- Dispute arbitration, which allows neutral third parties to settle international disputes, ensures the flow of international trade by providing for the protection of property and contractual rights.
Thinking Critically about America’s Role in the World Today
- The realist school holds that foreign policies should be guided by the national interest—mainly security and economic interest—and that policy makers should steel themselves to the necessity of making decisions that might be viewed from the outside as cold and ruthless if they serve the nation’s interests. Many presidents have become realists once in power.
- The harsh rationality of foreign policy often clashes with America’s history and ideals of having foreign policies with a higher purpose than the pursuit of interest and of using force only as a last resort.