October 29, 2012. POL327
Break It you buy it- Iraq.. when you get rid of existing authority, your responsible for the area
Crisis effecting US foreign policy- European Union problems, region where the US has lots of
investments, affects the US economy. European banks, American banks are intertwined.
Climate Change: first time since 1984 debate didn’t mention about the environment.
Foreign policy doesn’t win elections, Obama moved so close to the centre, that Romney would
have to agree or go to the right to the point he would not get elected. This is why Romney
changed his position, to try to paint himself as a moderate instead of an extreme right winger.
Public Opinion: doesn’t affect output of foreign policy, but affects who gets elected as president.
Why it’s not a good guide: very changeable, provide poor guide to policy makers, unstructured,
incoherent. Meaning the role of the elites in the US, is to. Ideology: apparent in the debates,
central point functions within a liberal mainstream. Extremes of left and right are absent, most
voters are located in the liberal mainstream, this is what presidents are competing over. Each of
the candidates paint each other as extremes, Obama has done its best to paint Romney as a right
wing extremist, ultra-elite who is likely not to care about middle America. Romney tries to
downplay radical aspects of his platform, step away from comments made before.
American political culture: most stable aspect of how the perception of the public. Political
culture rests on socialization, most deeply in those most socialized, meaning those elites (pickled
in the American culture than those less educated). American political culture by the dominate
role of images of the city and the hill. The US is the example to the rest of the world. Model and
magnet to the rest of the world to a democratic system. These dominate belief of “city on the
hill” which should always lead, another myth of innocence (US unlike European counterparts,
not weighed down by corruption, monarchies, feudalism. Began on a blank slate of an empty
continent of Europeans fleeing to set up a more just society.. no previous example that
constitution could be based on) most Americans see constitution as a higher law and look at
framers not as rich people who own slaves who wanted to protect their own interests, giving the
constitution a higher power. The US is a country of innocence, is myth in the common sense of
falsehood. Not a blank slate, occupied previously by native groups prior to arrival of Europeans.
Most of those were eliminated, by today’s standards by genocide. 2 myth- banetholinse –
foreign policy guided by morality. Realist think foreign policy is guided by their self-interest
morality would decrease their security. US is sharp contrast, interacts with foreign territory it
does so it basic principles of “morality” to liberate foreign countries from oppressive rule. Not
reality- whether this is the case or not, it has to explain itself to its citizens. Hard for Obama to
get in debate and to say we didn’t support the Arab spring, we reluctantly accepted Mubarak
stepped down, only when military turned against them, we were most interest in putting his
minister in power to keep them close as possible. We wanted to stop Arab spring by throwing support of allies of Saudi Arabia. Much closer, than saying they supported the Arab Spring.
Hilary Clinton said Mubarak was a close friend. Whether you support protests, depends on if you
think they will be successful. Idea that US embraced the Arab Spring is wrong, but Obamas
comments at the debates are wrong. Myth of execptionalism: used to describe exceptional all
rules that need to apply to all the states, don’t apply to the US due to them being the global
hegemony. Although UN charter states sovereign of states is held, while the US wouldn’t
endorse the idea governments don’t have to respect the sovereignty of their neighbors, the US
has the right to ignore this (Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Iraq). Exceptionalism, discussion of
political culture of technological superiority, succeeds where others have failed. What does all of
that have to do with American foreign policy as a whole?
Solipsism: The best and only correct way of doing things. Belief of Americans- in the American
way, the best and only way of doing things. Belief of US way is only correct has two important
implications a) enables ignorance, among country leaders and own domestic public. Failure of
Vietnam War, American’s new nothing of Vietnam, no administration who could have passed a
course of Vietnamese history. There was numerous experts in the administration, but they were
never consulted because they’re knowledge was not deemed to be relevant. Solipsism if you
believe the US is a model for the rest of the world, the implication is the rest of the world is
populated by frustrated Americans, but due to their old institutions or backwards education.
Other cultures don’t have anything to teach the US, very little interest in other culture if we can’t
gain anything. Level of ignorance not limited to general public, but to leadership of the US.
Foreign policy experience not required for the job, often seen as disqualifying candidates, if you
have extensive theory in foreign policy… period since ww2 occupied white house, Truman was
vice president came to white house with little foreign experience selected by Roosevelt. He was
selected to balance the ticket and vote. Eisenhower had experience in military not foreign affairs.
Kennedy was a short lived senator, little experience in foreign affairs. Johnston was good leader
famous for Johnston treatment that opposed his view and made people vote into the way he did,
master in domestic politics, civil rights act through congress. Little or no interest in foreign
policy.. Ambushed by foreign policy, cost of Vietnam War made it hard for domestic programs
to be implemented. Lack of knowledge in foreign policy made decisions for Vietnam was made
by those around him, who were more knowledgeable. Fits description ..experts in one thing
getting elected, but surrounded by bureaucrats who are knowledgeable. Nixon: main background
was domestic politics, surrounded by knowledgeable those around him. Ford: no experience
outside house of representatives.. zero experience. Carter: previously nuclear scientist, no
knowledge in foreign policy, was influenced by those around him. Herbert Bush: head of CIA
during Ford administration, made foreign policy center peace.. Bush invaded Panama launched
gulf war in Middle East, both of them were highly successful from American perspective. Lost
the next election, danger of becoming in foreign policy, lost to Bill Clinton to slogan “it’s the
economy stupid”. Most Americans not concerned with foreign policy, you leave you vulnerable.
Clinton: focused on economy, governor of small state. George W Bush: governor of Texas,
famous for chicken hawks. Have never participated in military, Chaney, Bush didn’t serve in war due to connections in high places but not reluctant to send people in harm’s way. Bush’s father
got him in Texas national guard, you were not sent to Vietnam, was a pilot but was never
claimed to be seen. Obama: spent childhood in Indonesia, most experience has been in domestic.
What does this mean? Impact on foreign policy on American foreign policy = 6 tendencies. 1)
strong tendency grossly over simplify foreign policy issues. Example= Ronald Reagan who
reframed the cold war issues as being confronting the evil empire, Bush claim of state of union
that America confronted axis of evil, consisted of North Korea, Iraq, Iran,