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UT / OTHER / GOV 312 / What are the major threats to American interests that it identifies?

What are the major threats to American interests that it identifies?

What are the major threats to American interests that it identifies?


School: University of Texas at Austin
Department: OTHER
Course: Issues & Policies in American Government
Professor: Giorleny altamirano rayo
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: governmet, federal, Government, Foreign, Policy, and american
Cost: 50
Name: GOV 312L American Foreign Policy
Description: This study guide covers the entirety of the review questions for the first midterm.
Uploaded: 02/14/2017
10 Pages 3 Views 28 Unlocks

Government Midterm 1 Review

What are the major threats to American interests that it identifies?

Module 1 

What is FP?

∙ Actions and statements of the US gov’t directed to a foreign audience

∙ Designed to shape beliefs, capabilities, interests, behaviors, etc. of external actors ∙ Communicates US’s intent and seeks to influence what other countries do What are the main components of the FP bureaucracy in the US?

∙ Largely contained within Executive branch

∙ Pres. nominates diplomats and other officials to run the state dept.

∙ Secretary of State does negotiations in FP

∙ Defense dept. heads the armed forces

o Sec. of Def. works with top military officials and has control over large-scale military ∙ Treasury dept. manages monetary policy with other nations

∙ CIA & DNI gather intelligence ???? shapes leaders’ decisions

∙ NSC coordinates all the FP agencies in the executive branch

What is isolationism?

What is the national interest? We also discuss several other topics like what is the difference between a coroner and a medical examiner?

∙ Political, economic, and moral goals of US

∙ Stems from concerns of security, economics, etc.

o Security/defense at home

o Maintain global free trade

o Normative interests (values we hold dear): human rights & democracy

Bush National Security Statement

What are the central components/foundational arguments? We also discuss several other topics like what is the Mongol system of communication that connected them with the far west?

∙ US must adapt to fight the war on terror (a new threat) ???? changed completely since  Cold War

∙ Terrorists leverage technology and are more likely to use nukes

∙ Statement of gov’t’s responsibility to protect the state from external threats ∙ US must have a greater willingness to strike first

What are the major threats to American interests that it identifies?

∙ Danger from terrorists & their use of nukes (and other weapons of mass destruction) ∙ New kind of war fought through tech and secrecy

What is the War Powers Act?

We also discuss several other topics like What is Paul Farmer’s article, about?

∙ Non-democratic states form which terrorists originate

How did 9/11 change the national security threats facing the US?

∙ Had to adapt to a new type of war

∙ US adopted a policy of preemption, much more aggressive than former policy of  deterrence

o Leading to greater willingness to strike first

Module 2 

What is Grand Strategy? (GS) Does it have any relationship with domestic partisanship? ∙ The BIG IDEA that structures conduct of FP ???? brand for the international system ∙ An ideology that is often debated over due to important political components that is has ∙ Some partisanship involved, though debates rest less on parties and more on  ideologies/philosophies

What are the components of GS? How can they be used to differentiate among varieties of grand  strategy?

∙ National interests

o Geographic scope: can be more regional or global

o Content of US’s overarching interests

∙ Threats (to interests)

o Geographic threats (distance from US)

o Identity ad interests of adversaries ???? ID hostile groups or nations

∙ Means

o Political instruments employed to achieve the desired goals

o Unilateralism (just US) vs. multilateralism (cooperation w/ other nations)

What are some of the central policy claims and arguments contained in Obama’s West Point Speech? In  what ways is this a statement of Obama’s GS?

∙ National interests: Counterterrorism, promotion of human rights, rebuilding national economy ∙ Means: Rely more on partners and int’l institutions and less on the military ∙ US won’t tolerate long-term military engagements ???? would rather provide support to local  militaries and partners If you want to learn more check out What is meant by deadweight loss?

∙ Claim that US is the indispensable nation ???? can’t stand by and let things happen but also can’t  intervene in everything

∙ Call for other countries to begin assuming responsibility for foreign events and acts What is isolationism? What are some historical examples?

∙ Reduced role of US in int’l politics

∙ Emphasis on domestic problems while foreign issues aren’t as concerning Don't forget about the age old question of Observation law refers to what?

∙ US has geographic power (separated by oceans and weak neighbors) and nuclear weapons  (deterrent)

∙ Primary goal is security if US citizens

∙ Resources are scarce and shouldn’t be waste abroad

∙ Foreign military intervention may just create new enemies

∙ Examples:

o Washington’s farewell address: told US to stay out of European politics and alliances o Republican successors to Wilson in 1920s: Rejection of League of Nations, frustration  with European politics

o 1st term FDR: Withdrew US from European politics to focus on recovering from Great  DepressionIf you want to learn more check out why are we different from animals?

Module 3 

What is selective engagement (aka offshore balancing)? Historical Examples?

∙ Embraces American global position as a superpower

∙ Comfortable with diplomacy, alliances, and international commitments

o Balancing behavior ???? preventing concentration of power in any nation

∙ Skeptical of nation building projects and intervention in local conflicts

∙ Focus on great power relations; less likely to get involved in smaller, local conflicts ∙ Examples:

o Eisenhower: wanted European allies to assume greater responsibility over their defense;  preserve peace among great powers by using nukes to deter USSR

o George HW Bush: Used NATO to reunify GER

o Expanded US/Russia relations via NATO

What is liberal internationalism? Historical examples?

∙ Use of multilateralism to build a liberal international order dominated by democratic states ∙ Promotion of American economic and political values

∙ Security is collective ???? works view UN, NATO, etc.

∙ Calls for US military and economic intervention in countries around the world ∙ Examples:

o Woodrow Wilson: Used military and int’l institutions to promote American FP goals o Championed League of Nations

o Started off many foreign independence movements

What is primacy? How is primacy related to neo-conservatism? Historical examples of neo conservatism?

∙ Focuses on American hegemony (political, economic, and military leadership in the world) ∙ Prevent rise of an American rival ???? global and expansive national interests ∙ Prefers the freedom of action of unilateral policies ???? premium on military force and economic  sanctions

∙ Examples:

o George Bush admin was neoconservative

▪ Against social programs and possesses a muscular vision of US FP

▪ Neoconservatives strongly aligned with Rep. Party

▪ Staunchly anti-Soviet; close ties with Israel

Principle lines of disagreement in the readings?

∙ Offshore balancing (OB) & selective engagement (SE) both focus on great power politics &  realism

∙ OB seeks to prevent rise of a great power while SE seeks to prevent wars b/w great powers ∙ Biggest difference: OB isn’t as open to sending troops to intervene

Module 4 

What are the constitutional foundations of the presidential leadership in FP making? ∙ Pres is commander in chief of the army and navy

o Can also make treaties and appoint ambassadors with consent on Congress o Any powers not explicitly given to another branch lie with Pres.

∙ Pres must have a 2/3 majority vote in Senate to ratify a treaty

Politics in the US foreign policy bureaucracy: how does interagency political competition shape US  foreign policy?

∙ Pres & national security council manage the FP

o Play central coordinating role among all FP decisions

∙ Diff. agencies compete for influence over Pres. ???? want to convince him how to proceed ∙ Bureaucratic interests driven by which policy would maximize the influence/resources of that  bureau

What is the Presidential daily brief? What role does the CIA play in US FP?

∙ Brief is the daily report given to Pres. every morning over FP

∙ CIA uncovers and stops threats against the US around the world

∙ Gives Pres. & policymakers best possible info on developments worldwide

Does war expand presidential authority? How?

∙ War enables Pres. to expand his power at home

o Limits Congressional policies or lets Pres. pass more policies

∙ Pres. represents the entire US while congressmen only represent smaller groups ∙ Congress more willing to align itself with Pres. in wartime

What are some of the controversies associated with using executive orders in the implementation of FP,  esp. over immigration? What political challenges encourage the President to pursue such a policy  strategy? How does the battle over immigration policy illustrate tensions b/w the executive and  legislative branches?

∙ Is it something Pres. should have jurisdiction over?

∙ Pres. pursues such a policy when he doesn’t want to wait for the approval of Congress or  doesn’t think he can get it

∙ Executive & legislative branches constantly vie for the ability to make their preferred policies

Module 5 

What role does the Constitution designate for Congress in FP?

∙ Congress can declare war, has power of the purse, and can block or ratify treaties ∙ 2/3 majority needed for treaties means minority party can still block a lot ∙ Trend of Senate to not pass any treaties lately

What is the War Powers Act?

∙ Gives Congress large power in FP after lots of power in the executive branch o Founding fathers intended for Congress to have more power

∙ Puts time limits on Pres’s ability to deploy troops without Congressional authorization How does the way that we structure our domestic politics affect US FP?

∙ Congress more active in checking Pres’s initiative in FP when there’s divided gov’t ∙ Congressional oversight allows Congress influence over public opinion through hearings o Congress can limit the duration of Pres. policies

How does Congress shape FP?

∙ Electoral incentives:

o Congress can criticize Pres’s actions and goals

o Criticism of Pres. can help enhance electoral fortunes of opposition party ∙ Party of Pres. gets an information advantage in Congress

o Opposing party uses oversight to offset this

∙ Opposing party will often rally behind pres. in FP

What is divided gov’t? How does it influence FP?

∙ Divided gov’t: when Pres’s party doesn’t hold majority of eats in both houses of Congress ∙ Divided gov’t is more active in checking Pres’s initiatives in FP

How does Congress shape public opinion over FP?

∙ Hearings provide a public forum to criticize executive branch officials

o Congress can shape public opinion with these publicized events

∙ Congressmen also have access to many news sources

o Influence about how media perceives pres.

Module 6 

What are the 4 primary ways that societal interests affect US FP?

What is the “rally around the flag” effect? What is “war fatigue?” What does Mueller mean when he  says that the American public is “casualty-phobic?”

∙ Rally around the flag: tendency for public support of military campaigns in their early stages ∙ War fatigue: public support sharply wanes as a war goes on

∙ Casualty-phobic: as soon as American casualties start mounting, support for wars drops What is a public good? What is the free rider problem and how does it relate to the provision of public  goods?

∙ Public good: a political action that benefits virtually all members of the US equally ∙ Free rider problem: people don’t pay the cost of producing some good but sill reap the benefits o Many Americans free ride when it comes to public good, which require thins like taxes How does the free rider problem relate to foreign policy and the provision of something like national  defense? How do special interest lobbying groups solve the free rider problem? ∙ Difficult to mobilize sufficient societal support for anything that’s a public good o Significant FP policy changes are views as a public good

∙ Lobbying groups:

o Give selective incentives to people for joining an org (like AARP)

o With greater numbers and by employing lobbying in DC, these groups get their desires  met in gov’t

How have powerful economic interests captured state power and fashioned economic trade policy to  further their interests through the Open Door policies of the 19th century?

∙ State capture theory: large corps. Exert too much influence over FP ???? corporate goals become  political goals

∙ Open door:

o Equal access for everyone to open market

o American companies have intense competition internationally

o Depression in late 1800s helped activate business interests in US in advocating for a  stronger FP

∙ US made a modern Navy to expand markets and develop internationally

∙ Capital-holding class has great power over American FP

Module 7 

How did a global conflict originating in Europe help bring about the American state? What challenges did  Great Britain (GB) face in managing its colonies in North America in light of the 7 years/French & Indian  War?

∙ During 7 Years War, GB took land in NA and had to tax colonists to pay for debt leftover from  the war

∙ GB had to make many policies to tax Americans

o Americans had great backlash and resisted the law; rise of assemblies in colonies How did France (FR) help to secure independence for the American colonies from GB? What role did the  Dec. of Indep. Play in signaling to FR that the American colonies were worth supporting in its drive for  independence?

∙ America needed FR to beat GB’s military, which was the best in the world

o FR provided money, weapons & supplies, and people to train troops

∙ Dec. of Indep. Burned the bridge to any peaceful resolution with GB

o FR saw this as a sign that the colonists were committed to fighting GB

How did the Articles of Confederation and its concentration of power in the states shape American FP? ∙ Loose union of states led to weakness abroad

∙ Fear of external security threats played a critical role in the development of more solid internal  institutions

∙ National security threated due to internal weakness

o States had too much autonomy

How did war and the anticipation of war in Europe lead to constructing a constitution with a stronger  national gov’t capable of reigning in state powers?

∙ America felt constantly under danger because it assumed Europe was always at war ∙ National security was threatened due to a weak federal gov’t ???? had to unite the states for  greater protection

∙ Constitution gave federal gov’t more power ???? support due to lots of external threats How did Washington’s Farewell Address set a precedent for isolationism for the US? What was  Washington’s fear regarding international cleavages and American domestic politics? ∙ Counseled against permanent alliances with other countries

∙ Told Americans to prioritize national interests

o Stay away from political parties

How did the threat posed by Napoleon influence the development of the US (through Louisiana  Purchase (LP) and War of 1812?

∙ Pressures of war in Europe caused US to focus inward and expand

∙ Napoleon sold LP to fund his wars

∙ Jefferson emphasized agriculture ???? led to expansion and finding new markets abroad ∙ US dragged into war against GB ???? GB blocked US trade

∙ Jefferson separated the domestic economy from Europe

What were the main principles of the Monroe Doctrine? Why did the US assert such an ambitious FP  statement at this time? What was GB’s role in enforcing the Monroe Doctrine?

∙ US would stick to western hemisphere w/o interfering abroad ???? European nations couldn’t  make new colonization in the Americas; US wouldn’t disturb any existing colonies

∙ Driven by independence movements of Latin American nations; GB also helped US enforce this ???? was in GBs interest to support the Monroe doctrine

Module 8 

How did Western expansion in the mid-1800s contribute to the emergence of the US as a global power?  ∙ Provided US with many resources ???? land, natural resources, and basis for dynamic economic  growth

What forces promoted American expansionism in the middle of the 19th century? ∙ Rapid population growth: needed to land to grow and for economic opportunities ∙ Tech innovations: railroad reduced cost of commerce over great distances

∙ Ideological: Manifest destiny as the divine right of the US

∙ Political conflict over slavery: balance of power in Congress b/w slave & free states What made the American Civil War an international event? What differentiated Union diplomacy from  Confederate diplomacy?

∙ Fate of American experiment hung in the balance ???? world looked on to see if it would fall apart o One of few democracies at the time, result would say a lot about this system ∙ Union diplomacy: industrial ties (important European trading partner) an anti-slavery position  (impossible for European nations to support the South)

∙ Confederate diplomacy: economic argument and King Cotton (world depended on Southern  cotton)

According to Fareed Zakaria, why was America slow in expanding from a continental power to a global  power?

∙ Result of the institutional consequences of the Civil War

o North set out on program of Reconstruction

o Congress took control of FP and limited foreign activity to pay for the war

According to Walter LaFeber and the Wisconsin School, how did crucial business interests and the need  for foreign markets contribute to the timing of American expansion in the 1890s? ∙ Industrialization pushed the US to engage in colonization

∙ Economic downturn at the time created a broad economic crisis

∙ Deflation meant businesses didn’t sell anything ???? over-production and not enough customers  so businesses lobbied for US to be more aggressive in acquiring foreign markets How did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Bosnian nationalist names Gavrilo Princip  lead to the outbreak of WWI? What role did the threat of nationalist uprisings in the Austro-Hungarian  empire play?

∙ Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia ???? dragged in all their respective allies ∙ Nationalist uprisings in the empire threatened it, so Austria-Hungary had to squash them Why did the US enter WWI and what impact did its entrance have?

∙ GER sunk some US ships ???? pissed Americans off and US was provoked to join ∙ Wilson had a vision for a new world order

∙ US money, troops, and resources helped refresh FR and GB


Note: I ran out of time to fill this part out, but the In The News stuff shouldn’t be that significant of a  portion of the exam

Weekly update 1: Grand strategy 

What is offshore balancing (interests, means, threats, theoretical foundations)? How is different from  selective engagement?

∙ Embraces American global position as a superpower

∙ Comfortable with diplomacy, alliances, and international commitments

o Balancing behavior ???? preventing concentration of power in any nation

∙ Skeptical of nation building projects and intervention in local conflicts

∙ Focus on great power relations; less likely to get involved in smaller, local conflicts ∙ Selective engagement more willing to send out troops

What are the components (interests, means, threats, theoretical foundations) of the grand strategy of  primacy in the Thornberry and Krepinevich article?

∙ Focuses on American hegemony (political, economic, and military leadership in the world) ∙ Prevent rise of an American rival ???? global and expansive national interests ∙ Prefers the freedom of action of unilateral policies ???? premium on military force and economic  sanctions

∙ Argues that US power is eroding due to China and Russia  

∙ US should maintain global military influence by expanding military power

What are some of the similarities between the Mearsheimer/Walt and Posen readings? What is mercantilism?

In what ways is President Trump trying to alter the foreign economic policy of the United States? How might you label President Trump’s grand strategy given his statements about the alliance  relationships of the United States and his conception of the national economic interests of the United  States?

Weekly update 2: Krebs interview, NSC, Cabinet appointments, and the travel ban What role does the partisan composition of Congress play in the confirmation process of Cabinet  appointees?

What is Stealth Multilateralism? Why might a President employ such a strategy? How does it influence  the capacity of the President to reach international agreements with other states? What are the long  term risks associated with presidential reliance on Stealth Multilateralism? What examples illustrate  these risks?

Identify the principal components of the Weissman argument about the role of Congress in shaping the  use of military force. What examples does he cite as illustrating Congressional failure to uphold its  constitutional responsibility with respect to the use of military force?

In what ways do the claims made by Weismann reinforce those of Golan-Vilella in the post 9/11 period? What is a narrative? How is it related to grand strategy? How has the global war on terror narrative  influenced American foreign policy? According to Krebs, what are some of the contemporary challenges  associated with exerting presidential leadership in foreign policy?

What is the travel ban? What is its impact on immigrants and refugees? What are the national security  justifications for its implementation?

Who sits on the National Security Council? What controversies were created by President Trump’s  reorganization of his national security council?

Weekly update 3: US Mexico relations, high tech on the travel ban 

How does a tariff influence the price of imports and consumer goods in the United States? Which  groups see income gains from tariffs? Which groups see income losses from tariffs? Why are consumers relatively poor political advocates for free trade? How is the collective action/free  rider problem shape their political impact?

What are some of the political and economic reasons given by the Trump administration to impose a  tariff on Mexican imports into the United States?

What can the November 2016 election results tell us about which groups within society possess the  most influence over foreign economic policy?

How might a free trade agreement like NAFTA facilitate the loss of industrial jobs in the United States? Why does the high tech sector oppose the travel ban? What are some of their political activities  designed to alter this policy? Why might the high sector have more influence over the foreign policy  making process in the United States than consumers?

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