POLC82lecturenotes.docx

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12 Apr 2012
School
Course
Professor
POLC82 American Foreign Policy
The Politics of United States Foreign Policy
Relevance and significance
Concept and Nature
Analytical Framework (Perspective an Themes
Week 2 Lecture 2- Jan 17th, 2012
Bay of Pigs Invasion- attempt by the US to overthrow Castro, a fiasco, couldn’t overthrow Castro he was aligned with
East vs West, the Soviet Union decided to help Castro by placing a long to medium range missile in Cuba.
The Politics of United States Foreign Policy
Politics and national interest
Politics
Who gets what when and how
Competition for power and shared meaning
Competition between different individuals and groups for control government and for support of the public
and influence throughout society in order to promote certain ends
National interest
Reason d’état. The goals of politics what is most beneficial for the state.
It is not just an issue of coming to a consensus it is an issue of a political struggle, a country as big as the US
arrives at a policy through struggle and through influence. Why do people want to have influence over a
policy?
State Dept, Defence Dept (Air force, Army and the Navy) These two bureaucracies are the main that the
president and the executive office (so many agencies- national security council, the CIA etc) the president
special assistant. So many dept involved the state dept and defence are the main that work on foreign policy,
the want to influence >it comes with how big the size of your budget will be. Issues such as budget are
related to influence, the more influential the defence dept is in shaping foreign policy the better it is for
expanding its budget, the credit goes to the Air force etc. The State dept budget expands it can open other
Embassy in other countries. In terms of the politics it depends on who influences US foreign police which
relies on how big your budget will be.
National interest- what the interest of the country is, very fluent, changes not static there are permanent by
who influences it as a certain point and time, however the national interest changes with time. It reflects the
interest of an elite group of people, interest of the state, does national interest really reflect what the state
needs?
What is foreign policy?
It is a set of political goals that seek to outline how a particular state will deal with important world issues as
well as interact with other states is in the international system
it is the scope of involvement abroad and the collection of goals strategies and instruments that are selected
by governmental policy makers
The foreign policy process how a policy decision are formed put on the agenda and implemented
How did the war on terror begin? The September 11th Attack
The Bush doctrine- preventative war
Democracy- Bush was adamant about all countries in the middle east to be democratic, because democracies do not
go to war against each other
The foreign policy process
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What forces drive foreign policy? Political ideology, moral, economic
What actors contribute to foreign policy formulation? The president, congress, the foreign policy
bureaucracy, advisors, cabinet officials, political parties, courts etc
The politics
It is a very complex process (several individuals and institutions are involved in the process)
It is a very political (competition- winners and losers in the political game).
National interests- what is best for the country- is created after the these processes.
National interest
Refers to what is best for the state
State: concept referring to governmental institutions which elites and policy makers act on behalf of the
people within a given territory
With the political struggle, whose interest is the national interest? Reflects elites interests
Neo conservatives (during Bush administration) come from a Jewish background,
Major World Events
World War 1 (Isolationism sentiments high within US)
World War 2 ( USE rise to global dominance)
Cold War ( Containment policy to curb Soviet Expansionism-make sure any expansion of soviet expansion to
the world such as Africa, building infrastructure of countries that are weak Marshall Plan)
Vietnam War and Korean War -
Collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism in Eastern Europe- relaxation of containment policies, proxy
wars wars that were not formal between the US and the Soviet War in a third
country not on each other soils, they were fighting in Angola and Vietnam .
Arab and Israeli Conflict
September 11th Attacks and Afghanistan War
Recent Global Economic Crisis
Challenges from Global Events
National security the security of the US
Economic dominance- makes sure the US is on top, intellectual property, copyright laws, if they can win
through manufacturing they will win through production. Adds to major issues that drive US foreign policy
Has the US foreign Policy remained the same?
In what ways has it changed?
Relevance and Significance (Foreign policy matters)
American investments abroad ($10 trillion)- more than the entire GDP of the African continent- so much of
the American investment is out there. It reaps earning. Responsibility of the US govt to keep the investments
safe
US exports (about $1 trillion)
American imports 60% of oil mostly from the middle east
US government spends about $700 billion to support the military and scientific industrial infrastructure
Protects security and economic well being f the American people (Americans war since WW2)
Others include: population, drug trade, environments, global warming, health etc
Effect on Americans and the rest of the world
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How do scholars typically look at foreign policy?
The policy approach- Emphasize contemporary events. Policy-prescriptive scholarship.
The historical approach- Emphasize historical patterns. Narrative rather than prescriptive scholarship.
The social-science approach- Identify patterns in specific facets of policy. Theory-developmental scholarship
Level of Analysis
Global and Historical Context (historical influences and future expectations).
Government and the policymaking process (influence of the executive branch, congress and the
bureaucracies).
Society and Domestic Politics (Issues of culture, elections, and public opinion).
How we study foreign policy:
Three central themes
Presidential supremacy in foreign policy
A modern role, often challenged
three patterns over time
Cold War peak
post-Vietnam decline
post-Cold-War tenuous increase
Patterns of continuity and change in U.S. foreign policy
Post-WWII dominance/global presence, Post-Vietnam transitions (decline of presidential power, fall
of anti-communist consensus, IPE considerations)
Conflicting tension between democracy and security
Individual rights (transparency, dialogue) versus national security (secrecy, mass support, efficiency)
Lecture 3 Tuesday January 24th 2012
Historical Context/Future of US Global Power
Continental Era
Regional Era
Global Era
Challenges facing Leaders
Continuity and Change
Isolationism/nonalignment/internationalism
Communist (Vietnam and Korean War) power and war
Roots conservative roots
Challenges from Global Events
National security -
Economic dominance
Has US foreign policy remained the same?
In what ways has it changed?
How do scholars typically
Level of Analysis
Global and historical context ( historical motivations, and influences and future expectations)
Government and the policymaking process (influence of the executive branch, congress and the
bureaucracies)
Society and domestic politics (issues of culture elections and public opinion)
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