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Foreign Policy Notes Essay

4823 words - 20 pages


Comparative constraints

-Domestic-high constraints

-Mixed-moderate constraints

-Foreign-low constraints

Presidential life cycle

-come into office with mandate

-high popularity

Honeymoon period

-President given time to introduce policies and begin to govern

-Typically short

Most of the time in office

-congress asserts its agenda

-public gets disillusioned, esp if campaign promises are unmet

-increasing criticism as time passes

Approval rating tend to decline

-crisis can help

Lame duck

-between election and swearing in when sitting president gets little done

National Security Council

Most US foreign policy made ...view middle of the document...

Cabinet centered foreign policy

Cabinet centered foreign policy- cabinet departments guide policymaking decisions under their jurisdiction and present solutions to the president for his approval

-most presidents enter office vowing to do this

May not be responsive to the president so he takes the leadership role

-president turns the process into a White House centered system (focus on advisors)

-policymaking becomes more centralized

-level of participation tends to narrow and decisions are made in very small groups

National Security Council

-created by 1947 National Security Act

-originally intended as a formal Council but has become more informal over time

-NSC is in the Executive Office of the President

-NSA is most important foreign policy appointment the president makes, but this person is not subject to the Senate confirmation process

In the beginning…

-original function of the NSC

-advise the president

-coordinate foreign policy process

-engage in long-term planning (never materialized)

Original members- president, state, defense, army, navy, air force, chair of National Security Resources Board

Current members- President, vice president, NSA, State, Defense, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, whoever the president wants to ask (often Chief of Staff and other WH advisors)

Evolution of NSC

-NSA intended to be a manger only, but has become both manger and advisor

-Truman and Ike used NSC as it was intended

-State was the main FP spokesman

-NSC staff was very small

-Kennedy and Johnson- NSC eclipsed the role of Stated due to disagreements with SecState; State influence began to wane

-Interagency groups created and replaced formal NSC

-President determined membership of groups

-FP became more White House centered

Nixon/Ford/Carter/Reagan-NSA and staff dominate FP process

Increased number of interagency groups

Kissinger (NSA) became Nixon’s foreign policy spokesperson

Carter relied on NSA when NSA and State disagreed

Reagan wanted State to lead but NSA took lead in second term

Bush/Clinton/Bush- Bush (41) experience led to him to rearrange the policymaking process

-created principals committee (secretary level groups) and Deputies Committee (deputy level groups) and interagency working groups

-Organization ensured White House centered policymaking

Clinton added the National Economic Council

Bush (43)’s VP became heavily involved in process

Obama looks like he will follow the Bush (41) model

State Department


-1789: 6 Staff and budget of $8000

Larger today but still small

-60,000 (2/3 in DC; 1/3 in field in 265 diplomatic missions and $16 billion budget

-13500 foreign service professionals

-6500 FSO (diplomats)

-5000 Foreign Service Specialist (technical, management, healthcare or administrative services in the field)

-1200 in foreign services USAIND


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