U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
Civil war is a turning point between the continental era and regional era.
• regional era, where the US began to influence the area in greater extent. like EastAsia.
• these turning points are a little bit misleading.
• the US never tried to be self sufficient. throughout it’s history they saw trading partners around
the world and engaged in free-trade extensively.
• saw opportunities for investment outside of its territory
• threat came from europe and best defense is to keep europe divided against itself
• the distrust of diplomacy (what the state department specializes in)
• Important: TEST IS ONE WEEK PRIOR TO TEST ON SYLLABUS.. I.E. NOV 26
• militarize foreign policy, still persists to this day many would argue
• need to open up foreign markets and maintain stability in foreign relations especially in the
regions where the US were deeply involved (i.e. western hemisphere and east asia)
• turning point with the spanish war
• WWI saw the US economically because teh US was the supplier for machinery and great
britain, and then germany decided to attack the trading between us and britain.
• when they entered they entered typical of the US, the US and wwI did exactly what it done in
the napoleonic concept and the weaking of the stronger party of europe so europe stayed
divided. Henry Morganthawl essay.
• this is not how woodward wilson explained, he explained it in terms of american political
culture that us sees itself as benovelent and exceptional. WWI became the war to end all wars
many historian described the end of WWI a return to isolationism.
by the nature of the conflict
• the return to isolationism freedman argues: reflects the interest of dominant economic groups
in the US.
• certain segments of the economic elites of the american economy that the first world war to a
considerable extent internationalized. looked beyond the borders of the US for opportunities
and were for
• these groups were banks and mining industries. but he argues these industries made up a small
percentage of the economy
• that the vast majority of enterprises of europe as competitors
• the entrepeneurial forms were industrial but small. a more technical division of labor and thus
in their history of development became more efficient than their traditional counterparts i.e.
textiles. thus galbraith argued it went through 3 phases
• 1) in competition with traditional producers in terms of efficiency and therefore price
• 2) competing against each other. Karl Marx, great locamotive in history: gaining a
competitive advantage other firms producing the same things (technological innovation
which required investment)
what changed bettween the first and second war
1) explores the modern corporation in considerable detail. U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
fordism, also known as tailorism
ford company: vertical integration
growth is necessary even if it comes at the expense of maximizing profits
keynsian is an outgrowth of this industrial state
October 22, 2013 Lecture
• many of the policies that he outlined and became the core of the foreign policies are policies
that the US wanted to adopt whether the Soviet Union existed or not.
• Ford was heavily dependent on foreign markets
• the great depression
• by the end of the second world war the US was the leading country of producing half the goods
being consumed by the world
• goal: shape the postwar environment to maintain open markets and access to american goods
around the world, most importantly Western Europe: Marshall Plan and rearmament to be
understood in the concept
• understand the relationship between american economy and its military structure (4% of its
GDP, which is more than the global economy spends and it is justified in the Cold War)
• that level of expenditure was necessary after the collapse of the soviet union.. so why?
• key: corporations n the US were heavily dependent on military spending and on the
employment situation in the US. by the 1990s there were momentum in the system of the
relationship between the US state and the public and corporations to sustain that level of
• nature of military spending did not change, the big ticket items (i.e. f35) continued to
receive funding and be the core of the future military needs of the US.
• it is an impressive piece of technology. but it is very difficult of most military spending,
which is far in excess that they calculated.
• why is it supported in congress?
• because of the connections he’s tried to highlight to some extent
• more important in the aftermath of the Cold war because of the decline of the US
• still among the largest, but relative to other states it is no longer to occupying the
position it did in 1950
• 1960: US foreign investment was at 85.6 billion, where foreign investment was 40.9
• in 2007: that figure changed drastically, 17 trillion. and F.I. was 20 trillion U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
• budget deficits, 1960 301 million surplus in its budget
• by 2008: 410 billion dollar deficit in the national budget
• situation in which the US had to borrow and by 2011, its debt total is 15 trillion 476
• refocusing on american policy towards domestic needs
• peace dividend were disappointed.
• arms manufacturing: arms escort always had to go through the state department and were
• Obama switched this to the commerce. its main goal is to maximize exports as much as
possible. state department is interested in certain times of standards and controls
• this may eliminate the controls, importance of economics determining these policies.
• key figure in shaping american foreign policy
• generally seen as the most important and powerful office in the world
• as powerful as it is however, it is easy to overstate the extent to which the president controls
• giving rise to the ‘paradox of the presidency’which refers to the power that resides in the
office and the extent to which the office is severely constrained.
• naturally, there is a great deal of focus on the president, and the election of Obama
illustrated, the expectation of electing a new president on foreign policy
• B.O. critiques was focused on his foreign policy and he promised his administration would
• paradox of the presidency goes a long way to explain those who supported Obama found
• U.S. foreign policy has not changed as ones would hope
• far greater of consensus for the policies of his predecessors that are now seen in a different
light by the democrats now that Obama is in office
• Obama is not the first to disappoint, we have to understand the office and the constraints it has.
• the first important role of the president is that he is the chief of state (a role that is symbolic
but it is important)
• our prime minister in Canada is not Chief of State.
• to some extent it explains the kind of iconography that goes with presidency which is
different from the attitudes Canada has towards their prime ministers
• he is the commander in chief (no one in the military can refuse his orders) this power has
been vastly expanded in the US.
• growing role of the military and size after WWII and its establishment of a permanent
entity. Which makes him commander in chief even in peace time. Exercises the power as
well as congress which provides him the money for the military and the authorization.
• Chief Diplomat: he sends and receives ambassadors, negotiates treatise with advice and
consent of the senate. U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
• he is Chief Legislator by virtue of the fact that since the 1930s, the large part of the
legislature acting of the congress is the budget which is handed over to the congress by the
• important role in legislative process, he can veto legislation. and that Veto is RARELY over
• Veto is important in not only stopping legislation but it always him to shape legislation
shaped by congress by threatening veto.
• Chief Judicial officer: he appoints the attorney general (chief prosecutor of fed gov.) and
has a great deal of leeway in deciding what to prosecute and what not to prosecute
• many have argued that so far, not one has gone to jail for the economic crash in 2008
• Obama admin has been vigilant with prosecuting other crimes like Chelsea Manning
(whistle blower) using a creative means of doing so. Re-activating the espionage act.
• criticized for his announcement that the best way to move forward was look forward
and not backwards by those of his predecessors. It demonstrates his influence over the
• he appoints members of the supreme court and federal with advice and consent of the
• ChiefAdministrator: he heads the executive branch which includes all the bureaucracies of
theAmerican gov.And he has leeway in how things are interpreted and how bureaucracies
are to inact the laws passed by congress
• Voice of the People (important role): ability to influence public opinion and all president
have tried to do so.Allows him to put considerable pressure on congress to get things done.
It was expanded in the administration of Franklin Roosevelt which used technology
(fireside chats: weekly broadcasts on the radio).
• no one has done that so successfully as roosevelt has done and Jane Carter as also done
so, he was sitting by the fire. and Ronald Raegen has done so since then
• Bush and Obama have focused on weekly radio broadcast but saw it as a means in
influencing how congress acts in order to get things through
Constraints that lead to the disappointments:
1) overall pattern of presidents in the US with few exceptions that they come into the white
house not fully prepared or trained for that particular position. True for all aspects of the
• Helps to have executive experience, like being a governor.
• much of the training for presidency is on the job training, you learn by doing
• with regard to foreign policy, with very few exceptions: presidents when coming into the white
house have little idea or interest in international affairs
• this is because it is rare that elections in the US are lost or won over issues related to
• generally elections tend to focus on domestic issues
• and there is always the debates of foreign policy boil down to “I will do my best to defend
the national interest” (assumed to be partisan). It is fairly rare that there are drastic contrast
in foreign policy U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
• those contrasts play a decisive role in determining outcomes of elections.
• closely associated: the background of presidents do not provide them with experience
of foreign policy
• govenorships are usually the roots of presidents... or held a position in house of
representatives or senates
• governors don’t have a lot to do with foreign policy and they deal with domestic
• most presidents do not have experience in foreign policy
• true of those who comes out of the senate and house of representatives, the senate
more or less.
• in order to become a long term member of house of reps, or senate, too much focus
on foreign policy seems detrimental to your position. You are only to bring as many
dollars to your constituency. If you’re on the foreign relation committees, you are
not able to bring that much money to your constituency.
• G. W. Bush had no interest in foreign policy or foreign affairs.
• PResident Izanhower (Sp) gained considerable experience in foreign affairs, George
Herbert Walker Bush, involved to a considerable extent.And vice president under
Raegen, he was generally described as a hands on VP in some of the key crisis areas
in central america
• how Obama fits in is a little more complicated. He has a great awareness of foreign
affairs, that his father was kenyan and his mother traveled a lot. Since his youth he
has been involved as the US Senate, he did distinguish himself as being relatively
critical of Bush’s invasion of Iraq
• the lack of experience shows his considerable constrains in foreign policy when he
gets into the white house
• Time (textbook). the president has an enormous amount of different things to look
after. Competing demands for his time and foreign policy is only one of thsoe. Most
presidents come into house focusing on domestic agenda which takes up a lot of
their time. Leaves far less time dealing with Foreign Policy
• F.P. is immensely complex, that the ability of any president forces him by necessity
to focus very narrowly on a couple of issues or areas which are of importance of
him and leaves the day to day managing of foreign affairs to the people in his
admin. He is not in the position to provide those people with guidance to how to
admin their foreign policies
• things going under crisis don’t go under presidency attention
• lack of experience is exaserbated by two problems:
2) far to little information or overload of information
• decisions have to be made before information has to be produced
• decisions have to be made before information has to be digested
3) problem of bureaucracy
• since president is Chief admin and is the boss of the bureaucracy, it is more of a constraint on
• bureaucracy controls information and information is power U.S. Foreign Policy
OCT 22, 2013
• they develop subcultures, and along with those they have perceptions of their own interest and
perogatives and bureaucrats know how to use their information at their disposal to undermined
and slow down the information and they reinforce their own subcultures
• all bureaucracies have one interest above all else: they want to hang onto their most
important talent and they have to be able to pay them well. Each of those involves growth
and expansion of their budget which leaves less for intelligence agency or defense
department. they try to convince policy makes in their utility in achieving the goals the
president has outlined. Information in that regard becomes crucial
• the president does not deal with bureaucracies directly, but by appointments to head these
• but as much as the president gains leeway over them by his appointments, they have
divided loyalty. To be loyal to the president but they have to gain the loyalty of those
they’re trying to reside if they lose the loyalty of their bureaucracies they will have a
difficult time getting things done. That means from the moment the secretary of state is
appointed, they might not be as responsive to the president as he had hoped.
• congress has influence in the funding of foreign policy and have the ability to reject treatise or
appointments made by the president
• enjoyed the power of oversight in investigation.
5) State local governments (in text)
6) Political parties
• function differently than parliamentary parties
• the president does not lead his own party or control them
• they are extremely weak in the US (democratic party and its support during the 30s-60s). The
upshot is that party platforms are worth as much as the paper their printed (aka nothing), t