Class Notes (806,817)
Canada (492,453)
POLB81H3 (69)

Making of foreign policy, continuation

5 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Wiafe- Amaoko

The Military-Industrial Complex A military-industrial complex refers to a huge interlocking network of governmental agencies, industrial corporations, and research institutes, working together to supply a nation’s military forces. military-industrial complex was a response to the growing importance of technology (nuclear weapons, electronics, and others) and of logistics in Cold War military planning. Because of the domestic political clout of these actors, the complex was a powerful influence on foreign policy in both the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. States at war have long harnessed their economic and technological might for the war effort. But during the Cold War, military procurement occurred on a massive scale in “peacetime,” as the superpowers raced to develop new high-technology weapons. The complex encompasses a variety of constituencies, each of which has an interest in military spending. Corporations that produce goods for the military profit from government contracts. Public Opinion Many domestic actors seek to influence public opinion—the range of views on foreign policy issues held by the citizens of a state. Public opinion has greater influence on foreign policy in democracies than in authoritarian governments. But even dictators must pay attention to what citizens think. No government can rule by force alone: it needs legitimacy to survive. It must persuade people to accept (if not to like) its policies, because in the end, policies are carried out by ordinary people—soldiers, workers, and bureaucrats. Because of the need for public support, even authoritarian governments spend great effort on propaganda—the public promotion of their official line—to win support for foreign policies. In many countries, the state owns or controls major mass media Journalists serve as the gatekeepers of information passing from foreign policy elites to the public. The media and government often conflict because of the traditional role of the press as a watchdog and critic of government actions and powers. Foreign policy decision makers also rely on the media for information about foreign affairs. Yet the media also depend on government for information; the size and resources of the foreign policy bureaucracies dwarf those of the press. These advantages give the ggovernment great power to manipulate journalists by feeding them information in order to shape the news and influence public opinion. Government decision makers can create dramatic stories in foreign relations—through summit meetings, crises, actions, and so forth. Bureaucrats can also leak secret information to the press in order to support their own point of view and win bureaucratic battles. Finally, the military and the press have a running battle about journalists’ access to military operations, but both sides gained from the open access given to journalists “embedded” with U.S. forces in Iraq in 2003. In democracies, where governments must stand for election, an unpopular war can force a leader or party from office Occasionally a foreign policy issue is decided directly by a referendum of the entire citizenry Even in the most open democracies, states do not merely respond to public opinion. Decision makers enjoy some autonomy to make their own choices, and they are pulled in various directions by bureaucracies and interest groups, whose views often conflict with the direction favored by public opinion at large. Furthermore, public opinion is seldom unified on any policy, and sophisticated polling can show that particular segments of the population Public opinion varies considerably over time on many foreign policy issues. States use propaganda (in dictatorships) or try to manipulate the media (in democracies) to keep public opinion from diverging too much from state policies. In democracies, public opinion generally has less effect on foreign policy than on domestic policy. National leaders traditionally have additional latitude to make decisions in the international realm. The attentive public in a democracy is the minority of the population that stays informed about international issues. This segment varies somewhat from one issue to another, but there is also a core of people who care in general about foreign affairs and follow them closely. The most active members of the attentive public on foreign affairs constitute a foreign policy elite—people with power and influence who affect foreign policy. This elite includes people within governments as well as outsiders such as businesspeople, journalists, lobbyists, and professors of political science. differ considerably from those of the general population, and sometimes from those of the government as well Governments sometimes adopt foreign policies for the specific purpose of generating public approval and hence gaining domestic legitimacy.27 This is the case when a government undertakes a war or foreign military intervention at a time of domestic difficulty, to distract attention and gain public support—taking advanta
More Less

Related notes for POLB81H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.