American Foreign Policy Historical and Contemporary Perspective
What is Foreign Policy? • A country’s official positions, practices, and procedures for dealing with actors outside its borders. • Determined by “national-interest”—national security, economic interests. • Also influenced by values of society where there is no direct national interest. (e.g., humanitarian intervention—e.g., Kosovo, Somalia) • Foreign policy formulation, particularly humanitarian intervention, is difficult. Risk dangerous foreign entanglements, and similarly, the criticism of inaction.
External Actors • Foreign policy actions directed towards external actors. • Can be divided into four categories: • IGO’s—U.N., NATO, OPEC, OAS. First IGO was “Congress of Europe.” Evolved into the now defunct League of Nations and the U.N. Grown exponentially since turn of the century. (37 in 1909; 132 in 1956; and 293 in 1990) • NGO’s—Amnesty International, Greenpeace. Have also proliferated in last half century. • MNC’s—Have greatly expanded. So too, has their influence. • Miscellaneous Actors: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and IRA.
Who Makes Foreign Policy? • The President—sets foreign policy through informal powers. • Substantial opportunity to communicate with public. • Shapes the direction of interests of foreign policy. • The Executive Branch • President atop a pyramid of executive agencies and departments. • NSC—Group of foreign policy advisers. • State Department—Manages foreign affairs. First department established. • DOD—Manage American soldiers and their equipment • Intelligence Community
Who Makes Foreign Policy (Cont’d) • Presidential Authority in Foreign Policy • Constitutional Powers: Chief of state, Chief executive, Commander-in-chief, Chief diplomat, Chief legislator. • What does this mean? • Exercise substantial powers in directing foreign policy through several avenues: • Commander-in-chief of U.S. military—can mobilize troops. • Chief diplomat—Most prominent representative of America and its values and interests. • Chief legislator—Signs laws. • Fears of “Imperial Presidency” have led to reductions in presidential authority.
Who Makes Foreign Policy (Cont’d) • Congress—Also constitutionally delegated powers in foreign affairs. • Ratify treaties, declare war, appropriate funds. • Concern with domestic affairs rather than international affairs & • Congressional organization (or disorganization) can hamper role in foreign policy • These factors lead to a rather passive role in foreign policy due to the “fast-moving” nature of foreign policy. • Delegation of powers to both Congress and Executive establishes checks and balances. • Constitutional principle of C&B ideally eliminates monopolization of power by one branch. • Examples: President is C in C, but Congress must declare war and appropriate funds; President chief diplomat, but Congress must ratify treaties. • President can subvert these restraints: • Introduce troops without declaring war. Have not declared war since WWII. • Bypassing Congress has become increasingly popular since Korean War (Vietnam, Lebanon, Panama, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan)
Restraints on Presidential Power • War Powers Act (1973)—Passed to limit presidential authority to commit troops overseas. • In response to the growing unpopularity of the Vietnam War. • Passed over President Nixon’s veto. • Three provisions: • President must inform Congress of the introduction of forces into hostilities or situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances. • Troop commitments by the president cannot extend past sixty days without specific congressional authorization. • Any time American forces become engaged without declaration of war, Congress can direct the president to disengage such troops by concurrent resolution of the two houses.
Restraints on Presidential Power (Cont’d) • President has been able to avert restrictions of WPA by exploiting loopholes. • Avoids reporting to Congress, thereby never triggering the 60 day clock. • Legal semantics: “Consistent but not pursuant to WPA”. Allows considerable latitude for president. (e.g., Afghanistan) • Despite apparent contravention of WPA, little judicial intervention. Often labeled “political questions.”
Instruments of Foreign Policy • Political Instruments • Include Propaganda—intended to shape the views of a foreign audience. Examples from the war on terrorism. Information with a purpose • Disbanded Office of Strategic Information • VOA • Al Manar—Hizbollah controlled TV station • Diplomacy—formal communication between countries. Primary responsibility lies with State Department. Extremely tricky. Evident in schism in approach to war on terrorism between “hawks”(Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith) and “doves” (Colin Powell). • Can be multilateral (current negotiations with North Korea) or bilateral (past dealings with North Korea in 1994) • Covert Ops—U.S. is primary mover, although it does not appear to be involved at all. • Especially popular during Cold War—overthrow Mosaddeq in 1953 and Allende in the 1970’s.
Instruments of Foreign Policy (Cont’d) • Economic Instruments • Foreign Aid—intended to bolster foreign economies. Also serve to induce compliance with American policies. • Marshall Plan • Support to Pakistan • Constitutes very small portion of American budget--.4 percent, well below that which is recommended by U.N. • Economic sanctions—”stick” approach to diplomacy. Restriction of trade with other countries at odds with American foreign policy interests. • Cuba • Iraq pre-invasion.
Instruments of Foreign Policy (Cont’d) • Military Instruments • Due to its severity, disinclined to employ • Three functions: • Deterrence—MAD • Preemptive or retaliatory attacks. Examples: Iraqi war, Libya 1986 following discotheque bombing. • Threat value—First Gulf War • Recent budget request nearly $380 billion. More than the next twenty-five nations military spending combined. • American military dominance unchallenged.