POL326Y1 Lecture 2: Theories Lecture

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26 Aug 2019
Continuity & Change in U.S. Foreign Policy
Understanding output of state is crucially important to understand its policies; outputs of policy focuses on
elections, proceedings in legislatures, efforts to influence the latter through lobbying
Foreign policy is considered as an outgrowth of domestic politics; the intent is to influence the
international environment rather than have a primary effect on domestic politics
o Ex. Why did Clinton lose the elections?
Trade policy: trade is predominantly under the authority of congress, not the executive branch; congress is
subject to lobbying from various interest groups, constituencies
o Trade has an impact on the internal environment; whether trade goes through depends on
domestic politics;
o Also, good at explaining foreign aid (falls under state department)
Aid must be understood as a subsidy to a domestic industry and it’s for these reasons
Ex. Trump slashing State Department Budget by 30% has some kickbacks; most favor this
Some benefit from this; food aid (beneficiaries are American farmers)
Same goes as development aid (tied aid: infrastructure)
Military industrial complex: key institutions that determines American foreign policy
o Eisenhower: the coincidence of interest between domestic groups
Defense department
Various contractors {McDonnell-Douglas}
Congress {defense contractors}
Marxists: state is a dependent variable—you don’t look at state itself, you look at forces acting upon state
o While state is a dependent variable, it isn’t a neutral arena (it’s a rigged game):
Instrumentalism: state is instrument of dominant elites for they have very close connections
with those that run the state
o This can’t be transparent; should it be, it may destabilize politics through riots
To avoid instability, the state must be legitimate or have relative autonomy, which derives
from guaranteeing the needs of dominant elites and ability to accumulate capital
They must compromise with the elites
In this regard, the intervention of Iraq: there were connections between top policymakers
and policies pursued (Bush wanted oil, Cheney was CEI of Halliburton, Donald Rumsfeld:
CEO of pharmaceutical industry, closest ties to oil)
o Policies with regards to banks: drew officials from banking industry themselves (Clintons drew from
Goldman Sachs; policies reflected interests of banks but not necessarily for public)
While connections between state exist, these are forms of corruption
o Role of state is to guarantee long-term stability of the system, two aren’t the same
To do so, it must have relative autonomy; the state must act against individual capitalists
and to guarantee stability
Ex. The New Deal (FDR)overcame the worst parts of depression, which includes the
imposition of minimum wage, legalization of labor unions, raising taxes on wealthy,
providing social security;
By 50s-60s: capitalists admitted that the New Deal saved depression
“Bringing the state back in”: Marxists would argue that state is a dependent variable;
actions of state reflect capitalist system overall;
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