Chapter sixteen: national security policymaking



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Chapter 16

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: NATIONAL SECURITY POLICYMAKING


PEDAGOGICAL FEATURES

p. 548 Making a Difference: Jody Williams



p. 552 Issues of the Times: Managing Crises

p. 562 You Are The Policymaker: Defending Human Rights

p. 565 Figure 16.1: Trends in Defense Spending

p. 567 Table 16.1: Size of the Armed Forces

p. 572 Figure 16.2: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons

p. 573 Figure 16.3: Exports and Imports

p. 577 How You Can Make A Difference: Getting Involved in the Foreign Policy Process

p. 582 Real People on the Job: Robert Blake


  1. 583 Get Connected

p. 583 Internet Resources

p. 584 For Further Reading




LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, students should be able to:


  • List the major international and regional organizations and describe their roles in the realm of international relations.




  • Determine how multinational corporations, groups, and individuals operate as actors in international relations.




  • Identify the primary policymakers involved in foreign policy decision making.




  • Delineate the major institutions of the U.S. national security establishment.




  • Ascertain how the president and Congress share constitutional authority over foreign and defense policy.




  • Briefly outline American diplomatic history from the period of isolationism to contemporary involvement in international relations.




  • Explain the events and circumstances of the cold war that contributed to the evolution of U.S. foreign policy.




  • Contrast the policy of détente with prior policies such as containment and brinkmanship.




  • Compare the general attitudes of liberals and conservatives toward defense expenditures and domestic policy expenditures.




  • Outline the major agreements negotiated by the United States and other nations on arms limitations and nuclear reduction.




  • Examine the importance of interdependency in today’s international economy.




  • Evaluate the roles that democracy and the scope of government play in the development of foreign policy and international relations.


CHAPTER OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION
The end of the cold war in the early 1990s brought with it many questions regarding the future of international politics, from what the nature of threat is, to what new alliances are needed and what the changing role of “superpowers” might be in the new global scene. This chapter reviews cold war policies and politics from a historical perspective as well as new issues concerning global inequality and human rights.
AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: INSTRUMENTS, ACTORS, AND POLICYMAKERS
Foreign policy involves making choices about relations with the rest of the world. The instruments of foreign policy are different from those of domestic policy. Foreign policies depend ultimately on three types of tools: military, economic, and diplomatic. Among the oldest instruments of foreign policy are war and the threat of war. Economic instruments are becoming weapons almost as potent as those of war. Diplomacy is the quietest instrument of foreign policy; it may involve meetings of world leaders at summit conferences, but more often involves quiet negotiations by less prominent officials.
Most of the challenges in international relations require the cooperation of many nations; thus, international organizations play an increasingly important role on the world stage. The United Nations (UN), created in 1945, is the most important of the international organizations today. In addition to its peacekeeping function, the UN runs a number of programs focused on economic development and health, education, and welfare concerns. Regional organizations are organizations of several nations bound by a treaty, often for military reasons. For example, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed to combine military forces and to treat a war against one as a war against all. By contrast, the European Economic Community (EEC), often called the Common Market, is an economic alliance of the major Western European nations; the EEC coordinates monetary, trade, immigration, and labor policies.
More than one-third of the world’s industrial output comes from multinational corporations (MNCs), which are sometimes more powerful (and often much wealthier) than the governments under which they operate. Groups such as churches and labor unions have long had international interests and activities. Even individuals are international actors; the recent explosion of tourism affects the international economic system.
The president is the main force behind foreign policy: As chief diplomat, the president negotiates treaties; as commander-in-chief, the president deploys American troops abroad. Presidents are aided (and sometimes thwarted) by a huge national security bureaucracy; Congress also wields considerable clout in the foreign policy arena. Other foreign policy decision makers include diplomats (such as the secretary of state and special assistants for national security affairs) and the national security establishment (including the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency).
AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: AN OVERVIEW
The United States followed a foreign policy of isolationism throughout most of its history. The Monroe Doctrine reaffirmed America’s inattention to Europe’s problems but warned European nations to stay out of Latin America. In the wake of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson urged the United States to join the League of Nations; the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, indicating the country was not ready to abandon isolationism.
Pearl Harbor dealt the death-blow to American isolationism. At the end of World War II, the United States was the dominant world power, both economically and militarily; only the United States possessed nuclear weapons. The charter for the United Nations was signed in San Francisco in 1945, with the United States as an original signatory. NATO was created in 1949, affirming the mutual military interests of the United States and Western Europe.
All of Eastern Europe fell under Soviet domination as World War II ended. In 1946, Winston Churchill warned that the Russians had sealed off Eastern Europe with an “iron curtain.” The United States poured billions of dollars into war-ravaged European nations through the Marshall Plan. Writing in Foreign Affairs in 1947 (under the pseudonym “X”), George F. Kennan proposed a policy of “containment.” His containment doctrine called for the United States to isolate the Soviet Union and to “contain” its advances and resist its encroachments. The Truman Doctrine was developed to help other nations oppose communism.
The Soviet Union closed off land access to Berlin with the Berlin Blockade (1948-1949), which was countered by a massive airlift of food, fuel, and other necessities by the United States and its allies. The fall of China to Mao Zedong’s Communist-led forces in 1949 and the development of Soviet nuclear capability seemed to confirm American fears. The invasion of pro-American South Korea by Communist North Korea in 1950 further fueled American fears. The Korean War began when President Truman sent American troops to Korea under United Nations auspices.
The cold war was at its height in the 1950s. Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, proclaimed a policy of “brinkmanship” in which the United States was to be prepared to use nuclear weapons in order to deter the Soviet Union and Communist China from taking aggressive action. In the era of McCarthyism, domestic policy was deeply affected by the cold war and by anti-communist fears. With containment came a massive buildup of the military apparatus, resulting in the military-industrial complex (a phrase that was coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to refer to the interests shared by the armed services and defense contractors). Economist Seymour Melman wrote about Pentagon capitalism, linking the military’s drive to expand with the profit motives of private industry. The 1950s ushered in an arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States; eventually, a point of mutual assured destruction (MAD) was reached in which each side could destroy the other.
In 1950, President Truman decided to aid the French effort to retain France’s colonial possessions in Southeast Asia — the beginning of American involvement in Vietnam. In 1954, the French were defeated by the Viet Minh (led by Ho Chi Minh) in a battle at Dien Bien Phu. Although it was a party to agreements in 1954 among participants in Geneva, Switzerland, the United States never accepted the Geneva agreement to hold national elections in Vietnam in 1956; instead, it began supporting one non-Communist leader after another in South Vietnam.

Vietnam first became an election-year issue in 1964. Since Truman’s time, the United States had sent military “advisors” to South Vietnam, which was in the midst of a civil war spurred by the Viet Cong (National Liberation Front). Senator Barry Goldwater was a foreign policy hard-liner who advocated tough action in Vietnam; President Lyndon Johnson promised that he would not “send American boys to do an Asian boy’s job” of defending the pro-American regime in South Vietnam. Despite his election-year promise, Johnson sent in American troops when we were unable to contain the forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnam with American advisors.


American troops and massive firepower failed to contain the North Vietnamese. At home, widespread protests against the war contributed to Johnson’s decision not to run for reelection in 1968 and to begin peace negotiations. The new Nixon administration prosecuted the war vigorously, but also worked to negotiate a peace treaty with the Viet Cong and North Vietnam.
Even while the Vietnam War was being waged, President Nixon supported a new policy of détente. Popularized by Nixon’s national security assistant (and later secretary of state), Henry Kissinger, détente sought a relaxation of tensions between the superpowers, coupled with firm guarantees of mutual security. One major initiative that came out of détente was the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). These talks represented an effort by the United States and the Soviet Union to agree to scale down their nuclear capabilities, with each power maintaining sufficient nuclear weapons to deter a surprise attack by the other. President Nixon signed the first SALT treaty in 1972. A second SALT treaty (SALT II) was signed and sent to the Senate by President Carter in 1979, but the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that year caused Carter to withdraw the treaty from Senate consideration; both he and President Reagan nevertheless insisted that they would be committed to its arms limitations.
The philosophy of détente was applied to the People’s Republic of China as well as to the Soviet Union. President Nixon visited the People’s Republic and sent an American mission there. President Carter extended formal diplomatic recognition in November 1978.
From the mid-1950s to 1981, the defense budget had generally been declining as a percentage of both the total federal budget and the gross national product (with the exception of the Vietnam War); the decline in defense spending became a major issue in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. During the campaign, Reagan said America faced a “window of vulnerability” because the Soviet Union was pulling ahead of the United States in military spending. President Carter’s last budget had proposed a large increase in defense spending, and the Reagan administration proposed adding $32 billion on top of that. However, concern over huge budget deficits brought defense spending to a standstill in the second Reagan term. In 1983 President Reagan added another element to his defense policy–a new plan for defense against missiles. He called it the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Reagan’s plans for SDI proposed creating a global umbrella in space, wherein computers would scan the skies and use various high-tech devices to destroy invading missiles.
Forces of change sparked by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led to a staggering wave of upheavals that shattered Communist regimes and the postwar barriers between Eastern and Western Europe. The Berlin Wall was brought down, and East and West Germany formed a unified, democratic republic. The former Soviet Union split into 15 separate nations; non-Communist governments formed in most of them. On May 12, 1989, President Bush announced a new era in American foreign policy that he termed “beyond containment.”
In 1989, reform seemed on the verge of occurring in China as well as in Eastern Europe. Thousands of students held protests on behalf of democratization in Tiananmen Square (the central meeting place in Beijing). However, on the night of June 3, the army violently crushed the democracy movement, killing hundreds —perhaps thousands — of protesters and beginning a wave of executions, arrests, and repression.
Perhaps the most troublesome issue in the national security area is the spread of terrorism–the use of violence to demoralize and frighten a country’s population or government. Terrorism takes many forms, including the bombing of buildings (such as the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001), and ships (such as USS Cole in Yemen in 2000), the assassinations of political leaders (as when Iraq attempted to kill former president George Bush in 1993), and the kidnappings of diplomats and civilians.
The threat posed by terrorist groups and the hostile states supporting them has forced America to reconsider basic tenets of its national security policy. The George W. Bush administration is developing a new strategic doctrine that moves away from the Cold War pillars of containment and deterrence toward a policy that supports preemptive strikes against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. Thus, the president wishes to add preemption and “defensive intervention” as formal options for striking at hostile nations or groups that appear determined to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States.
THE POLITICS OF DEFENSE POLICY
The central assumption of current American defense policy is that the United States requires forces and equipment sufficient to fight two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts.
Defense spending comprises about one-sixth of the federal budget. Domestic political concerns, budgetary limitations, and ideology all have a role in influencing decisions regarding the structure of defense policy.
Some scholars have argued that America faces a trade-off between defense spending and social spending. A nation, they claim, must choose between guns and butter, and more guns mean less butter. In general, defense and domestic policy expenditures appear to be independent of each other. Defense spending is a thorny political issue, entangled with ideological disputes. Conservatives fight deep cuts in defense spending, pointing out that many nations retain potent military capability and insisting that America maintain its readiness at a high level. Liberals, on the other hand, insist that the Pentagon wastes money and that the United States spends too much on defense and too little on social welfare programs. In addition, scholars such as Paul Kennedy and David Calleo envision a new world order different from the bipolar dominance of the United States and the Soviet Union. Whatever its cause, the lessening of East-West tensions has given momentum to significant reductions in defense spending, what some call the peace dividend.
The structure of America’s defense has been based on a large standing military force and a battery of strategic nuclear weapons. The United States has nearly 1.4 million men and women on active-duty and nearly 900,000 in the National Guard and Reserves. Cuts in defense spending have led to reduced numbers of active-duty personnel in the armed services. To deter an aggressor’s attack, the United States has relied on a triad of nuclear weapons: ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers.
During the May 1988 Moscow summit meeting, President Reagan and President Gorbachev exchanged ratified copies of a new treaty eliminating intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF). On November 19, 1990, the leaders of 22 countries signed a treaty cutting conventional arms in Europe. In 1991, the Warsaw Pact (the military alliance tying Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union) was dissolved. On July 31, 1991, Gorbachev and President Bush signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, following nine years of negotiations.
The democratization of Eastern Europe, the restructuring of the Soviet Union, and the deterioration of the Soviet economy substantially diminished Russia’s inclination and potential to threaten the interests of the United States and its allies. In the fall of 1991, President Bush broke new ground with his decision to unilaterally dismantle some U.S. nuclear weapons; President Gorbachev followed suit shortly afterward. Presidents Bush and Yeltsin later signed an agreement to sharply reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.
Despite these changes, high-tech weapons systems will continue to play an important role in America’s defense posture. The perception that space-age technology helped win the Gulf War in “100 hours” and with few American casualties provides support for high-tech systems.
THE NEW GLOBAL AGENDA
By whatever standards one uses, the United States is the world’s mightiest power; but for Americans, merely being big and powerful is no guarantee of dominance.
One explanation for America’s tribulations is that the nation’s supposed strong suit, military might–is no longer the primary instrument of foreign policy. An ancient tool of diplomacy, sanctions are nonmilitary penalties imposed on a foreign government in an attempt to modify its behavior. Economic sanctions are often a first resort in times of crisis as they are less risky than sending in troops. Successful sanctions most often have broad international support, which is rare. Critics argue that sanctions are counterproductive because they can provoke a nationalist backlash.
The spread of technology has enabled the creation of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, encouraging U.S. officials to adopt a more assertive posture in attempting to deny these weapons of mass destruction to rogue states. Currently, policymakers are most concerned about countries who are actively seeking nuclear weapons capabilities: North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya. Other nations have serious security concerns when faced with hostile neighbors possessing nuclear weapons.
Although the United States has great military power, many of the world’s issues today are not military ones. Interconnected issues of equality, economics, energy, and the environment have become important. Today’s international economy is illustrated by interdependency. The health of the American economy depends increasingly on the prosperity of its trading partners and on the smooth flow of trade and finance across borders.
Since the era of the Great Depression, the world economy has moved away from high tariffs and protectionism toward lower tariffs and freer trade. President Bush signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992 with Canada and Mexico; it was approved by Congress in 1993. In 1994 Congress approved the GATT agreement. Nontariff barriers such as quotas, subsidies, or quality specifications for imported products are common means of limiting imports today; such policies do save American jobs, but they also raise prices on products that Americans use.
For a number of years, America has experienced a balance of trade deficit; the excess of imports over exports decreases the dollar’s buying power against other currencies, making Americans pay more for goods they buy from other nations. On the plus side, this decline in the dollar also makes American products cheaper abroad, thereby increasing our exports. Since the late 1980s, the United States has actually experienced a balance of trade surplus with Western Europe; the trade deficit with Japan and other Asian countries has declined, but much more slowly.
Whereas the cold war meant continuous conflict between the Soviet Union and the West, world politics today includes a growing conflict between rich nations (concentrated in the northern hemisphere) and poor nations (concentrated in the southern hemisphere). The income gap between rich, industrialized nations and poor, underdeveloped ones is widening rather than narrowing. Not only are there wide gaps between rich and poor nations (international inequality), but there are also big gaps between the rich and poor within developing countries (intranational inequality). Although every nation has income inequality, the poorer the nation, the wider the gaps between rich and poor.
Presidents of both parties have pressed for aid to nations in the developing world — sometimes from humanitarian concern, sometimes out of a desire to stabilize friendly nations. Foreign aid has taken a variety of forms: Sometimes it has been given in the form of grants, but it often has taken the form of credits and loan guarantees to purchase American goods, assistance with agricultural modernization, loans at favorable interest rates, and forgiveness of previous loans; preferential trade agreements have sometimes been granted for the sale of foreign goods here. A substantial percentage of foreign aid is in the form of military assistance and is targeted to a few countries that are considered to be of vital strategic significance. Foreign aid has never been very popular with Americans. Although the United States donates more total aid than any other country, it devotes a smaller share of its GNP to foreign economic development than any other developed nation.
Energy transfers offer convincing evidence that world politics is a politics of growing dependency. Massive oceangoing oil tankers (most sailing from OPEC nations) have made it possible to import half of the oil Americans now use, but they have also contributed to ruined fisheries and beaches from oil spills.
Almost every nation faces severe environmental problems. The formerly Communist nations of Central and Eastern Europe rank among the worst offenders. Underdeveloped nations almost always favor economic growth at the expense of the ecology. Recent concerns over the effects of fluorocarbons on the Earth’s ozone layer have generated international studies and diplomatic discussions; Americans have bargained with other nations to restrict over fishing, limit pollution, and deal with deforestation of the tropical rain forests. Issues closer to home often get a different response: In 1992, President Bush refused to sign an international agreement on environmental protection, arguing that it would cost jobs in the United States and that it failed to protect patent rights of newly developing industries. However, President Clinton agreed to follow a specific timetable to reduce the threat of global warming and to sign a treaty protecting rare and endangered species.
Other important issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation have also become more important in an increasingly complex international environment.
UNDERSTANDING NATIONAL SECURITY POLICYMAKING
The themes that have guided students’ understanding of American politics throughout Government in America—democracy and the scope of government—also pertain to the topic of international relations. Because domestic issues are closer to their daily lives and easier to understand, Americans are usually more interested in domestic policy than in foreign policy. There is little evidence, however, that policies at odds with the wishes of the American people can be sustained; civilian control of the military is unquestionable. In addition, the system of separation of powers plays a crucial role in foreign as well as domestic policy. When it comes to the increasingly important arena of American international economic policy, pluralism is pervasive. Treaty obligations, the nation’s economic interests in an interdependent global economy, and other questions on the global agenda guarantee that the national government will be active in international relations. As the United States remains a superpower and continues to have interests to defend around the world, the scope of American government in foreign and defense policy will be substantial.


CHAPTER OUTLINE

I. INTRODUCTION

A. The end of the cold war has not lessened the importance of national security policy.

1. New and complex challenges have emerged to replace conflict with Communism.

2. Many of the former Communist nations of Eastern and Central Europe are engaged in civil wars.

B. National security policy also raises important issues regarding democracy. Should the American people delegate discretion in this area to officials? Or should they and their representatives fully participate in the democratic policymaking process, just as they do in domestic policy? And can the public or its representatives in Congress or in interest groups have much influence on the elites who often deal in secrecy in national security policy?
II. AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: INSTRUMENTS, ACTORS AND POLICYMAKERS

A. Foreign policy involves making choices about relations with the rest of the world.

1. Because the president is the main force behind foreign policy, the White House receives a highly confidential intelligence briefing every morning.

2. The instruments of foreign policy are different from those of domestic policy.

a. Foreign policies depend ultimately on three types of tools: military, economic, and diplomatic.

b. Among the oldest instruments of foreign policy are war and the threat of war. The United States has often used force to influence actions in other countries.

c. Today, economic instruments are becoming weapons almost as potent as those of war.

(1) The control of oil can be as important as the control of guns.

(2) Trade regulations, tariff policies, and monetary policies are among the economic instruments of foreign policy.

d. Diplomacy is the quietest instrument of foreign policy.

(1) Sometimes national leaders meet in summit talks.

(2) More often, less prominent negotiators work out treaties handling all kinds of national contracts.

B. Actors on the world stage.

1. International organizations.

a. More than 125 nations have emerged since 1945—nearly two dozen in the 1990s alone.

b. Most of the challenges in international relations require the cooperation of many nations; thus, international organizations play an increasingly important role on the world stage.

c. The United Nations (UN), created in 1945, is headed by the secretary general, who usually comes from a neutral or nonaligned nation.

(1) Its members agree to renounce war and respect certain human and economic freedoms.

(2) The UN General Assembly is composed of about 175 member nations, each with one vote; the Security Council, with five permanent members and five chosen from session to session, is the seat of real power; the Secretariat is the executive arm of the UN and directs the administration of UN programs.

(3) In addition to its peacekeeping function, the UN runs a number of programs focused on economic development and health, education, and welfare concerns.

2. Other international organizations.

a. The International Monetary Fund helps regulate the world of international finance; the World Bank finances development projects in new nations; and the International Postal Union helps get the mail from one country to another.

b. Regional organizations are organizations of several nations bound by a treaty, often for military reasons.

(1) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949; its members (the United States, Canada, most Western European nations, and Turkey) agreed to combine military forces and to treat a war against one as a war against all.

(2) The Warsaw Pact was the regional security community of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies; the Warsaw Pact has been dissolved, and the role of NATO is changing dramatically as the cold war has thawed.

(3) The European Union (EU), often called the Common Market, is an economic alliance of the major Western European nations; the EU coordinates monetary, trade, immigration, and labor policies.

3. Multinational corporations, groups, and individuals.

a. More than one-third of the world’s industrial output comes from multinational corporations (MNCs), which are sometimes more powerful (and often much wealthier) than the governments under which they operate.

b. Groups such as churches and labor unions have long had international interests and activities.

(1) Environmental and wildlife groups such as Greenpeace have proliferated, as have groups interested in protecting human rights, such as Amnesty International.

(2) Some groups are committed to the overthrow of particular governments and operate as terrorists around the world.

c. Individuals are also international actors.

(1) The recent explosion of tourism affects the international economic system.

(2) Growing numbers of students are going to and coming from other nations; they are carriers of ideas and ideologies.



  1. Immigrants and refugees place new demands on public

services.

C. The policymakers.

1. The president is the main force behind foreign policy: as chief diplomat, the president negotiates treaties; as commander in chief, the president deploys American troops abroad.


  1. Some presidential foreign policymaking is done by formal

mechanisms such as treaties or executive agreements.

  1. In addition, the president has greater access to information than

other policymakers and can act with speed and secrecy if necessary.

2. Presidents are aided (and thwarted) by a huge national security bureaucracy; Congress also wields considerable clout in the foreign policy arena.

3. Other foreign policy decision makers.

a. The diplomats.

(1) The secretary of state has traditionally been the key advisor to the president on foreign policy matters.

(2) The 23,000 people working in the State Department are organized into functional areas and area specialties.

(3) The top positions in the department and the highly select members of the Foreign Service are heavily involved in formulating and executing American foreign policy. (Presidents Nixon and Carter relied more heavily on their special assistants for national security affairs than on their secretaries of state.)

(4) Many recent presidents have bypassed institutional arrangements for foreign policy decision making and have established more personal systems for receiving policy advice.

b. The national security establishment.

(1) The Department of Defense (DOD) was created after World War II when the Army, Navy, and Air Force were combined into one department.

(a) Although the services are now in one department, they have never been thoroughly integrated and continue to plan and operate largely independent of one another.

(b) Recent reforms have increased interservice cooperation and centralization of the military hierarchy.

(c) The commanding officers of each of the services, plus a chair, constitute the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Richard Betts carefully examined the Joint Chiefs’ advice to the president in many crises, and found that the Joint Chiefs were no more likely than civilian advisors to push an aggressive military policy.

(2) The secretary of defense manages a budget larger than that of most nations and is the president’s primary military advisor.

(3) American foreign military policies are supposed to be coordinated. The National Security Council (NSC) was formed in 1947 for this purpose.

(a) Despite the coordinating role assigned to the NSC, conflict within the foreign policy establishment remains common.

(b) The NSC staff has sometimes competed with—rather than integrated—policy advice from cabinet departments; it has also become involved in covert operations.

(4) The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), known as “The Company,” was created after World War II to coordinate American information and data-gathering intelligence activities abroad and to collect, analyze, and evaluate its own intelligence.

(a) The size of its budget and staff are secret; estimates put them at $3 billion and about 19,000 people.

(b) Most of its activities are uncontroversial, as the bulk of the material it collects and analyzes comes from readily available sources.

c. Congress.

(1) The president shares constitutional authority over foreign and defense policy with Congress.

(a) Congress has sole authority to declare war, raise and organize the armed forces, and appropriate funds for national security activities.

(b) The Senate determines whether treaties will be ratified and ambassadorial and cabinet nominations confirmed.

(c) The “power of the purse” and responsibilities for oversight of the executive branch give Congress considerable clout, and senators and representatives examine defense budget authorizations carefully.

(2) It is a common mistake to believe that the Constitution vests foreign policy solely in the president. Sometimes this erroneous view leads to perverse results, as with the Iran-Contra affair, when officials at high levels in the executive branch lied to Congress and others in an attempt to protect what they viewed as the president’s “exclusive” powers.


III. AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: AN OVERVIEW

A. From isolationism to internationalism.

1. The United States followed a foreign policy of isolationism throughout most of its history.

2. The Monroe Doctrine reaffirmed America’s inattention to Europe’s problems, but warned European nations to stay out of Latin America.

3. In the wake of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson urged the United States to join the League of Nations; the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, indicating the country was not ready to abandon isolationism.

4. Pearl Harbor dealt the death-blow to American isolationism.

5. The charter for the United Nations was signed in San Francisco in 1945, with the United States as an original signatory.

B. At the end of World War II, the United States was the dominant world power, both economically and militarily.

1. Only the United States possessed nuclear weapons.

2. The United States poured billions of dollars into war-ravaged European nations through the Marshall Plan.

3. NATO was created in 1949, affirming the mutual military interests of the United States and Western Europe.

C. All of Eastern Europe fell under Soviet domination as World War II ended.

1. In 1946, Winston Churchill warned that the Russians had sealed off Eastern Europe with an “iron curtain.

2. Writing in Foreign Affairs in 1947 (under the pseudonym “X”), George F. Kennan proposed a policy of “containment.” His containment doctrine called for the United States to isolate the Soviet Union and to “contain” its advances and resist its encroachments.

3. The Truman Doctrine was developed to help other nations (particularly Greece) oppose Communism.

4. The Soviet Union closed off land access to Berlin with the Berlin Blockade (1948-1949); it was countered by a massive airlift of food, fuel, and other necessities by the United States and its allies.

5. The fall of China to Mao Zedong’s Communist-led forces in 1949 and the development of Soviet nuclear capability seemed to confirm American fears.

6. The invasion of pro-American South Korea by Communist North Korea in 1950 fueled American fears further.

a. President Truman sent American troops to Korea under United Nations auspices.

b. The Korean War (which lasted until July 23, 1953) was a chance to put containment into practice.

7. The 1950s were the height of the cold war.

a. Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, proclaimed a policy of “brinkmanship” in which the United States was to be prepared to use nuclear weapons in order to deter the Soviet Union and Communist China from taking aggressive action.

b. In the era of McCarthyism (named for Senator Joseph McCarthy, who made unsubstantiated accusations of disloyalty and breaches of security against both public officials and private citizens), domestic policy was deeply affected by the cold war and by anticommunist fears.

8. With containment came a massive buildup of the military apparatus, resulting in what some people called the military-industrial complex.

a. The phrase was coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to refer to the interests shared by the armed services and defense contractors.

b. Economist Seymour Melman wrote about pentagon capitalism, linking the military’s drive to expand with the profit motives of private industry.

9. The 1950s ushered in an arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States; eventually, a point of mutual assured destruction (MAD) was reached in which each side could destroy the other.

D. The Vietnam War.

1. In 1950, President Truman decided to aid the French effort to retain France’s colonial possessions in Southeast Asia.

2. During the 1950s, the Viet Minh (the Vietnamese Communist forces) began to receive military aid from the new Communist government in China.

3. In 1954, the French were defeated by the Viet Minh (led by Ho Chi Minh) in a battle at Dien Bien Phu.

4. Although it was a party to the 1954 agreements among participants in Geneva, Switzerland, the United States never accepted the Geneva agreement to hold national elections in Vietnam in 1956; instead, it began supporting one non-Communist leader after another in South Vietnam.

5. Vietnam first became an election-year issue in 1964.

a. Since Truman’s time, the United States had sent military “advisors” to South Vietnam, which was in the midst of a civil war spurred by the Viet Cong (National Liberation Front).

b. Senator Barry Goldwater was a foreign policy hard-liner who advocated tough action in Vietnam; President Lyndon Johnson promised that he would not “send American boys to do an Asian boy’s job” of defending the pro-American regime in South Vietnam.

6. Despite his election-year promise, Johnson sent in American troops when we were unable to contain the forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnam with American advisors.

a. American troops (more than 500,000 at the peak of the undeclared war) and massive firepower failed to contain the North Vietnamese.

b. At home, widespread protests against the war contributed to Johnson’s decision not to run for reelection in 1968 and to begin peace negotiations.

7. The new Nixon administration prosecuted the war vigorously (in Cambodia as well as in Vietnam), but also worked to negotiate a peace treaty with the Viet Cong and North Vietnam.


  1. A peace treaty was signed in 1973, but no one expected it to

hold.

b. South Vietnam’s capital, Saigon, fell to the North Vietnamese army in 1975.

c. South and North Vietnam were reunited into a single nation, and

Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

E. The era of détente.

1. Even while the Vietnam War was being waged, Richard Nixon supported a new policy of détente.

a. Popularized by Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security assistant (and later secretary of state), détente sought a relaxation of tensions between the superpowers, coupled with firm guarantees of mutual security.

b. Foreign policy battles were to be waged with diplomatic, economic, and propaganda weapons; the threat of force was downplayed.

2. One major initiative coming out of détente was the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT).

a. These talks represented an effort by the United States and the Soviet Union to agree to scale down their nuclear capabilities, with each power maintaining sufficient nuclear weapons to deter a surprise attack by the other.

b. President Nixon signed the first SALT treaty in 1972.

c. A second SALT treaty (SALT II) was signed and sent to the Senate by President Carter in 1979, but the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that year caused Carter to withdraw the treaty from Senate consideration; both he and President Reagan nevertheless insisted that they would be committed to its arms limitations.

3. The philosophy of détente was applied to the People’s Republic of China as well as to the Soviet Union.

a. President Nixon visited the People’s Republic and sent an American mission there.

b. President Carter extended formal diplomatic recognition in November 1978.

F. The Reagan rearmament.

1. From the mid-1950s to 1981, the defense budget had generally been declining as a percentage of both the total federal budget and the gross national product (with the exception of the Vietnam War).

a. Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire,” and he viewed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 as typical Russian aggression.

b. During his presidential campaign, Reagan said America faced a “window of vulnerability” because the Soviet Union was pulling ahead of the United States in military spending.

2. President Carter’s last budget had proposed a large increase in defense spending, and the Reagan administration proposed adding $32 billion on top of that. In the second Reagan term, concern over huge budget deficits brought defense spending to a standstill.

3. In 1983, President Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—renamed “Star Wars” by critics—to create a global “umbrella” of protection in space.

a. Proposals called for computers to scan the skies and use various high-tech devices to destroy invading missiles.

b. The administration proposed a research program costing tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.

G. The final thaw in the cold war.

1. The cold war ended spontaneously—a situation that few could have predicted.

a. Forces of change sparked by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led to a staggering wave of upheavals that shattered Communist regimes and the postwar barriers between Eastern and Western Europe.

b. The Berlin Wall (the most prominent symbol of oppression in Eastern Europe) was brought down, and East and West Germany formed a unified, democratic republic.

c. The former Soviet Union split into 15 separate nations; non-Communist governments formed in most of them.

d. On May 12, 1989, President Bush announced a new era in American foreign policy, one that he termed “beyond containment.” Bush declared that it was time to seek the integration of the Soviet Union into the community of nations.

2. In 1989, reform seemed on the verge of occurring in China as well as in Eastern Europe.

a. Thousands of students held protests on behalf of democratization in Tiananmen Square (the central meeting place in Beijing).

b. However, on the night of June 3, the army violently crushed the democracy movement, killing hundreds—perhaps thousands—of protesters and beginning a wave of executions, arrests, and repression.


IV. THE POLITICS OF DEFENSE POLICY

A. Defense spending.

1. The central assumption of the current American defense policy is that the United States requires forces and equipment sufficient to fight two nearly simultaneous major regional wars.

2. Defense spending comprises about one-sixth of the federal budget.

3. Domestic political concerns, budgetary limitations, and ideology all have a role in influencing decisions regarding the structure of defense policy.


  1. Defense spending is a political issue entangled with ideological

disputes.

a. Conservatives oppose deep cuts in defense spending, pointing out that many nations retain potent military capability and insisting that America needs to maintain its high state of readiness.

b. They credit the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe to Western toughness and the massive increase in defense spending that occurred in the early 1980s.

c. Liberals maintain that the Pentagon wastes money and that the United States buys too many guns and too little butter.

d. They contend that Gorbachev and his fellow reformers were responding primarily to internal (not external) pressures; they believe the erosion of the Communist party’s authority was well under way when Gorbachev rose to power and that it accelerated as glasnost called attention to the party’s failures.

5. Some scholars have argued that America faces a trade-off between defense spending and social spending.

a. Evidence for the existence of such a trade-off is mixed.

b. In general, defense and domestic policy expenditures appear to be independent of each other.

6. The lessening of East-West tensions has provided momentum for significant reductions in defense spending (what some call the peace dividend).

a. Some conservatives favor cutting defense spending in order to decrease the budget deficit.

b. Some liberals want to allocate the funds to expanded domestic programs.

c. Changing spending patterns is not easy: when assembly lines at weapons plants close down, people lose their jobs; these programs become political footballs.

d. Defense spending is decreasing, and the size of the armed forces is also being reduced.

B. Personnel.

1. The United States has nearly 1.4 million men and women on active duty and about 900,000 in the National Guard and Reserves; about 230,000 active duty troops are deployed abroad, mostly in Europe.

2. This is a very costly enterprise; many observers feel that America’s allies—especially prosperous nations like Japan and Germany—should bear a greater share of common defense costs.

C. Weapons.

1. To deter an aggressor’s attack, the United States has relied on a triad of nuclear weapons—ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers.

2. Arms reduction.

a. During the May 1988 Moscow summit meeting, President Reagan and President Gorbachev exchanged ratified copies of a new treaty eliminating intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF); Reagan became the first American president to sign a treaty to reduce current levels of nuclear weapons.

b. On November 19, 1990, the leaders of 22 countries signed a treaty cutting conventional arms in Europe.

c. In 1991, the Warsaw Pact (the military alliance tying Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union) was dissolved.

d. On July 31, 1991, President Gorbachev and President Bush signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, following nine years of negotiations.

3. The democratization of Eastern Europe, the restructuring of the Soviet Union, and the deterioration of the Soviet economy substantially diminished Russia’s inclination and potential to threaten the interests of the United States and its allies.

a. In the fall of 1991, President Bush broke new ground with his decision to unilaterally dismantle some U.S. nuclear weapons; President Gorbachev followed suit shortly afterward.

b. Presidents Bush and Yeltsin signed an agreement to sharply reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

4. Despite these changes, high-tech weapons systems will continue to play an important role in America’s defense posture.

a. The perception that space-age technology helped win the Gulf War in “100 hours” and with few American casualties provides support for high-tech systems.



  1. Producing expensive weapons also provides jobs for American

workers.
V. THE NEW GLOBAL AGENDA

A. By whatever standards one uses, the United States is the world’s mightiest power, but for Americans merely being big and powerful is no guarantee of dominance.

1. Our economy is increasingly dependent on international trade.

2. Public opinion polls find that Americans are more likely to perceive threats to their security from economic competition from allies than from military rivalry with potential adversaries.

3. Political scientist Stanley Hoffman likened the United States’ plight to that of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver, the traveler who was seized and bound by the tiny Lilliputians.


  1. New issues and tools have emerged in the increasingly complex foreign

affairs domain.

1. Economic sanctions are a new and powerful non-military penalty imposed on a foreign government in an attempt to modify its behavior.



  1. Nuclear proliferation has become a more central issue, with the United

States adopting a more assertive posture in attempting to deny nuclear weapons to rogue states.

3. Terrorism is the most troublesome issue in this new environment.

C. The international economy.

1. Today’s international economy is illustrated by interdependency.

2. The health of the American economy depends increasingly on the prosperity of its trading partners and on the smooth flow of trade and finance across borders.

a. Exports and imports have increased ten-fold since 1970 alone; spending by foreign tourists bolsters U.S. travel, hotel, and recreation industries; American colleges and universities derive a significant portion of their revenue from foreign students.

b. The globalization of finances has been even more dramatic than the growth of trade; worldwide computer and communications networks instantaneously link financial markets in all parts of the globe.

3. At one time, tariffs (taxes added to the cost of imported goods) were the primary instruments of international economic policy.

a. Tariffs are intended to raise the price of imported goods in order to protect American businesses and workers from foreign competition.

b. Tariff making became a two-edged sword: high U.S. tariffs encourage other nations to respond with high tariffs on American products.

4. Since the era of the Great Depression, the world economy has moved away from high tariffs and protectionism toward lower tariffs and freer trade.

a. President Bush signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992 with Canada and Mexico; it was approved by Congress in 1993.

b. In 1994, Congress also approved the even more important General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) treaty.

5. Various circumstances combine to upset the balance of trade (the ratio of what a country pays for imports to what it earns from exports).

a. For a number of years, America has experienced a balance of trade deficit; the excess of imports over exports decreases the dollar’s buying power against other currencies, making Americans pay more for goods they buy from other nations.

b. On the plus side, this decline in the dollar also makes American products cheaper abroad, thereby increasing our exports.

c. Since the late 1980s, the United States has experienced a balance of trade surplus with western Europe; the trade deficit with Japan and other Asian countries has declined, but much more slowly.

d. A poor balance of trade exacerbates unemployment; jobs as well as dollars are flowing abroad.

(1) Labor is cheaper in countries like Mexico, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea.

(2) Some U.S. firms have shut down their domestic operations and relocated in countries where labor costs are lower.

6. A cheaper dollar also makes the cost of American labor more competitive.


  1. More foreign-owned companies are now building factories in the

U.S.

(1) The stability of the U.S. economy and the low value of the dollar have made the United States attractive to foreign investors.

(2) Although there are advantages for the United States to have investors pouring money into the country, some fear that both profits and control will move outside our borders.




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