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UT / Government / GOV 312L / What is the national security council composed of

What is the national security council composed of

What is the national security council composed of



The national security council.


Iran Nuclear Accord - Agreement negotiated between the U.S. and five other world powers, it prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon for 10-15 years in return for lifting harsh international sanctions. The deal has been sharply criticized by Republicans in Congress, Israel and the Arab gulf countries.

Axis of Evil - Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Described by George Bush in speech that implied the U.S. would take action, maybe war, against these states. The U.S. positioned itself for a new war against Iran by equating Iran with Iraq. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 paired with the stationing of over 100,000 American troops there prompted Iran to develop a nuclear program to deter another U.S. attack on them or Iraq. International System - A complex global aggregation of people, organizations, ideas, rules, and the natural world. The international system is comprised of actors and structure. Any outcome within a system reflects the influence of both actors and structure. Systems possess two or more characteristics. First, connections among the components of a system can cause the behavior of one of two actors to influence the choices of other actors. Second, we often can’t understand political and economic outcomes within the international system solely by examining the properties of the actors that comprise it.

What is divided government?

If you want to learn more check out What are the events in the 1920s leading to neobehaviorism?

● Actors - individuals who share a common purpose or collective identity. Their behavior is purposive. In the international system, the most prominent actors are states, firms, international organizations, domestic interest groups, political parties, and non-state actors (terrorist orgs. etc.). States are the most important global actor. 

● Structure - the set of properties or arrangements that connect and order the actors in the system. It includes formal law, informal norms, and the distribution of capabilities among actors in a system. The structure of a system additionally allocates power among actors within it.

P5 States - China, France, Russia, UK, US. The UN grants these states special power. Sometimes Germany is included in the P5+1.

Rally around the flag refers to?

States - The capabilities of a state rests on factors including national income, size of military, and population. Actors with limited capabilities often face significant challenges in gaining their political and economic interests.

● Great Powers - a unique subgroup of states, they possess more economic and military resources than other states in the international system.

National Interests - a set of political, economic, social, or moral goals possessed by the U.S. They motivate and guide policy, help to define to collective identity of America, andWe also discuss several other topics like What is the self-esteem cycle?


set the scope of potential conflict or cooperation with other states in the international system. National Interests are often contested across American voters. They (1) guide policy Ex: U.S. policy to go to war with Iraq was prompted by the U.S. national interest to prevent terrorism. (2) define the collective identity of Americans Ex: Many Americans identify with the national interest of preserving democracy (3) set the potential for conflict/cooperation with other states Ex: If two states share interests they may cooperate to achieve this. The U.S. has economic interests, social interests, political interests, and normative interests.

Foreign Policy - the actions and statements of the U.S. government directed at some foreign audience. The responsibility of these policy decisions resides in the hands of the federal government. Foreign policy actions and statements are meant to shape the beliefs, capabilities, interests, and actions of their target. Foreign policy actions can include deployment of military force, signing of an agreement, a decision to shift resources in the federal budget, and statements by U.S. leaders. Don't forget about the age old question of What is an anatomical position?
Don't forget about the age old question of Classical realism is a theory of what?

● Beliefs - organizing ideas that foreign actors have about the content of American interests and their expectations of future American actions. U.S. foreign policy is often designed to communicate U.S. intent or interests. Beliefs shape social behavior. 

○ Ex: During the Cold War American leaders made Soviet leaders believe that the United States had the resolve to launch nuclear weapons if Paris was invaded so that the Soviets wouldn’t risk invading.

● Capabilities - the relative balance of military power between two political organizations. This balance shapes the bargaining leverage that two states possess in a political dispute.

○ Ex: using military power as a tool of foreign policy to degrade the capabilities of the other state. The U.S. can use military dominance to get political concessions from other states. If you want to learn more check out When is medieval period?

● Interests - what states want (territory, wealth, nuclear weapons, etc.). Target interests shape the scope of political conflict with the U.S. American foreign policy is often directed at changing the interests of other states.

○ Ex: the U.S. uses economic incentive (foreign aid/trade increases) to provide material incentive for other states to pursue interests that are consistent with American goals. Common interests can be a foundation for political cooperation and can eliminate threats to U.S. interests.

● Actions - using foreign policy as a device to alter the behavior of other states.We also discuss several other topics like What is a hyperplasia?


○ Ex: Sanctions against Russia designed to pressure Putin to halt support of U.S. adversity.

Normative Interests - The values that we hold dear and upon which we base our national identity. Ex: U.S. seeks to protect human rights and promote democracy abroad. Grand Strategy - the set of overarching ideas that structure conduct of foreign policy, often bundled into a brand such as “containment” or “democracy promotion”. Grand strategy provides the foundation for foreign policy. Grand strategy is most appropriately labeled as an ideology. Grand strategy debates often include political components rather than facts. These debates draw on theories. Ex: How best do we preserve American values? Debates on grand strategy are comparable to domestic debates over partisanship. These competing ideologies create a brand or narrative about how to promote a set of national interests and policy recommendations. Grand strategy opinion isn’t always easily categorized by political party. Three things differentiate grand strategies (1) national interests - global scope and content of interests (2) principal threats facing the U.S. - geographic threats, identity and interests of adversaries (3) optimal policy instruments - unilateralism vs multilateralism, effectiveness of military force.

Isolationism - strives to reduce the role of the U.S. in international politics and safeguard national interests by keeping the outside world at a safe distance. Prefers smallest role of the U.S. on a global stage. Non-intervention. Believes that American threats abroad are minimal and foreign investments are a threat. Because our neighbors (Canada and Mexico) are unlikely to threaten us, we should keep to ourselves. Isolationists argue that a state’s primary national interest is the physical security of its citizens and on this dimension the U.S. is relatively safe and has no need to be involved abroad. Isolationists believe (1) international intervention and military intervention may create hostile threats (2) resources are scarce and shouldn’t be used dangerously. Ex: foreign aid generally isn’t repaid and could therefore be considered a dangerous investment. Historically, isolationism in the U.S. waxed and waned with perceived threats and levels of U.S. global power. There was much less Isolationism post-WWII and throughout the Cold War. Post-9/11 isolationism took a backseat until Trump was elected and isolationism saw a resurgence.

Selective Engagement - is also known as offshore balancing. Like isolationism, selective engagement is mindful of the limits of U.S. power. There are three differences between selective engagement and isolationism (1) those who embrace selective engagement acknowledge the political and economic responsibilities of the U.S. as a great power more so than isolationists (2) they are comfortable with alliances and international commitments like NATO (3) the overriding interest of selective engagement is focus on


the prevention of great war. This grand strategy is focused on great power relations. It includes taking action to ensure that no single power dominates. Selective engagists are hesitant to intervene in conflicts among smaller/local powers.

● Balancing Behavior - foreign policy efforts to prevent the concentration of power. This is threatening to U.S. interests because a concentration of power could match or exceed American power.

Liberal Internationalism - supports the use of military power and international institutions to pursue a liberal international order. In the sense of liberal internationalism the term liberal means embracing free and fair elections, individual rights, a free market economy, and civil rights. Liberal internationalism is a grand strategy that strives to create an international system dominated by democratic policies and a global free market economy. It attempts to externalize, or promote values inherent in the American domestic political system. Namely individual rights and liberty. This grand strategy views U.S. national interests and threats as global and expansive. What differentiates liberal internationalism from other strategies is (1) viewing security as collective and achievable through multilateral organizations and alliances. They see great value in organizations such as the UN and NATO and believe that the U.S. should not address threats alone. (2) promoting western values - free market, democracy, human rights, etc. The belief that the U.S. is more secure in a world that shares its values. Liberal internationalism is often viewed as idealistic rather than realistic. However, it often calls for much American military and economic intervention around the world and is an activist foreign policy. A critique of Liberal Internationalism is that it is often viewed as too expansive and even imperialistic.

● Primacy - a grand strategy that focuses on establishing and maintaining U.S. hegemony and its political, economic, and military leadership in the world. Policies supporting primacy try to prevent the emergency of a strong rival to American power. Primacy views threats to the U.S. as global and expansive. Unlike Liberal Internationalism, Primacy is suspicious of international organizations, preferring to work unilaterally. To reduce reliance on other countries, primacy tries to ensure the U.S. has enough economic and military power. It uses economic and military sanctions to pressure others to act in support of U.S. interests. Alternatively, primacy is often faulted for being too ambitious and costly. Ex: Iraq war provoked new threats and cost large sums of money.

○ Neo-conservatism - a set of ideas about how society functions and how the government should regulate social, economic, and political spheres of life. Neo-conservatives tend to be republicans skeptical of big government.


They generally support Christian right for Israel and historically allied with the Evangelical wing of the republican party during the Reagan

administration. This group was comprised of anti-soviet Reagan supporters who supported strong ties with Israel and embraced the collapse of the Soviet Union. They believed that the U.S. should maintain dominance and rebuild the post-Soviet world with democracy and free markets.

■ Albert Wohlstetter - was a major neo-conservative influencer

during the Cold War. He advocated a hard line on sustaining the

arms race with Russia to maintain military superiority.

Mercantilism - is an economic theory that sought to locate economic production within national boundaries. It is skeptical of international trade because of the risks of being economically dependant on other countries.

The National Security Council - includes the president, his national security advisor, the vice president, the secretary of state, treasury, and defense, the chairman of joint Chief of Staff, the director of national intelligence, and other agency heads. The national security council also has a support staff. This office is within the White House and was created by Truman to help coordinate the rapidly expanding national security bureaucracy during the Cold War. The president and his national security council play the central coordinating role among all foreign policy agencies of the executive branch. Problems emerge when when interagency coordination fails. Ex: mixed messages in runup to the first Persian Gulf war undermined diplomacy and contributed to the failure to deter Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

Resource Control - spending all resources at the end of the year in order to lay claim to more the next year.

CIA Director - has three responsibilities (1) to ensure that the CIA is doing everything possible around the globe to uncover threats and stop attacks on U.S. interests (2) make sure that the president and senior policy-makers receive the best insights and intelligence available on all global developments and keep the president informed. (3) oversee modernization and evolution of CIA technology and intelligence. Delivery of the PDB varies by president but has become more interactive. When it comes to national security issues presidents tend to put partisanship aside. The CIA informs policy makers who use that information to reach a consensus or not.

Executive Orders - have been used with increasing frequency and impact in recent years. Through executive orders the president can enact policy without Congress. An executive order is an official order from the president that has the force of law but not its permanence. Both Obama and Trump have attempted to use executive orders to make


foreign policy on immigration. Issuing an executive order bypasses Congress (Congress can’t vote against it). However, Congress can pass laws against these orders after the fact (the president can veto these). Courts can deem the orders unconstitutional and presidents can undo executive orders of their predecessors by issuing new ones. In 2014 Obama’s executive order provided temporary legal status to 4-5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The order was blocked in court by states arguing that he had overstepped his authority. Obama argued that his order was valid due to his prosecutorial discretion. In 2017 Trump issued two different versions of an executive action restricting immigration from certain Muslim majority countries. Both orders were blocked in court because they discriminated based on religion. Trump argued that the law gave him power to restrict immigration. Executive orders have a large potential to impact foreign policy but are limited by the courts. 

Stealth Multilateralism - efforts by the president to work around the refusal of the Senate to approve treaties by acting as though the U.S. were part of an accord, even if the U.S. is not formally bound by a treaty, it can still make decisions that follow all of the mandates of the unratified treaty.

Non-binding Agreement - another presidential “work around”. This is an international agreement short of a treaty which doesn’t require Senate approval.

The War Powers Act - (1973) a Congressional attempt to reign in presidential war making power after the Vietnam War. The act was passed over a veto from Nixon who deemed it unconstitutional as it infringed on the president’s right to conduct foreign policy. Presidents, both democrat and republican, have argued that it is unconstitutional or doesn’t apply to their actions. The act argues that by inserting Congress back into debates over when to use force the act rebalanced the power between the president and Congress to how the founding fathers intended it. Congress makes its case based on its power to declare war and the necessary and proper clause which gives Congress the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying its own powers out. The War Powers Act lays out rules and time limits on the president’s ability to deploy troops without a declaration of war. Obama circumvented this and claimed he didn’t need Congressional approval to deploy troops in Iraq because of previous approval to fight Al Qaeda.

Institutions - rules that structure how two individuals or groups with contending interests reach a collective choice. The institutional structure shapes how foreign policy is made. Institutions matter most in disagreements. These rules help to allocate the roles, responsibilities, and rights of the parties in bargaining situations. Institutions help to allocate the relative power of these groups in determining the policy choice. Operative


institutions include (1) The War Powers Act (2) The Constitution (3) elections. These impacted Obama’s bargaining power with Congress regarding ISIS and military intervention.

Divided Government - occurs when the president’s party does not hold a majority of seats in both the house and senate. This was present in the final years of the Obama administration. Congress is more active in checking presidential authority when there is a divided government.

Partisanship - the ideological orientation of a politician or voter, generally thought of as republican or democrat. On foreign policy, conventionally republicans prefer a more robust and militaristic policy. This is prominent in how Bush dealt with Iraq. Rally Around the Flag - refers to the tendency for the public to rally behind the president and the cause of war at times of perceived crisis. This occurs in the initial stages of military campaigns. Both the Korean and Vietnam wars started off with widespread support. Why does this happen? (1) nationalism - patriotism emerges when the country is threatened (2) lack of interest/information - public opinion of foreign policy is volatile and unstable (3) dramatic impact of foreign crisis - if citizens hold weak positions on foreign policy they can be more easily swayed by dramatic crises (4) fleeting nature of support.

War fatigue - the tendency for public support of war to diminish over time. The U.S. has a low tolerance for long wars. We are “casualty phobic” according to Muller. As casualties in a war increase, support decreases. The president cannot control this loss of support.

Free-rider problem - occurs when people don’t pay the costs of producing some good yet still enjoy the benefits of consuming that good.

The Seven Years War - (The French and Indian War) was a complicated war in the 1750s in Europe involving many of the large states. There were two major conflicts, one between Britain, France, and Spain over commerce and colony. The other was of Prussia and Austria over ruling German speakers in Europe. The British had a dramatic defeat of the French and Spanish and secured huge territorial gains in North America including land in Canada. These gains created two new challenges for the British. (1) paying for the war and (2) protecting the western frontier. Britain’s total cost of the war was about 137 million pounds. The war was incredibly expensive and the British government needed to find a way to pay for it. Britain’s new territory aggravated this problem as they had more land to defend and needed to double the number of troops in North America. This meant the British needed a new source of revenue and sought this from the rapidly growing American colonies. The colonies had large economic value to Great Britain, almost ½ of


English shipping was involved in trade with North America. The colonies were also largely in debt to the English and the Scottish banks. This interdependence motivated a series of reforms many of which were meant to raise revenues on the colonies. These included the stamp act, the sugar act, and the townshend act. These efforts provoked a sharp backlash from the colonists and helped incentivise local resistance including embargos of British products, rebellion of local officials to not enforce British laws, and the re-creation of local legislative bodies. In response, Britain began to circumvent local authority.

The Articles of Confederation - gave Congress authority over diplomatic relations, requisition money and soldiers from states, coining and borrowing money, and settling disputes among states. Aside from these powers, Congress had little authority under the Articles. They acted more as an alliance among states. There was loose unity among states but state loyalty was more important. The articles abolished tariffs among states and established a common market. The AOC left the union weak compared to other international powers.

The Federalist Papers - pointed out the national security deficiencies with the AOC. The papers advocated a strong central government. They also brought up the issues with different state tariffs. The Constitution ultimately gave the Federal government more power than it had under the AOC. International external threats evoked a common interest among states for national security, leading to ratification of the constitution. The Louisiana Purchase - Napoleon sold Louisiana to the U.S. in 1803 to secure additional revenue for the pending resumption of his war against Great Britain. Jefferson sought to avoid entanglements in the French Revolution. Jefferson wanted to limit the power of the federal government and allow the U.S. economy to flourish around agricultural production. The U.S. had an interest in territorial expansion and wanted to incorporate Louisiana for more farmland. The Louisiana territory was originally granted to Spain as part of France’s defeat in the Seven Year War. Since then, American settlers flocked to New Orleans and helped change the politics there. These settlers sought incorporation into the U.S. and encouraged the expansionist vision in D.C. Spain returned Louisiana to France. The proceeds of the sale of Louisiana was used by Napoleon in his war against the British.

Module #1 - Concepts

● The U.S. worried that the Iranian possession of nuclear weapons would threaten allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Nuclear Accord preserved peace between Iran,


the U.S., and Israel. It also created internal conflict in the countries involved and reflected shifting foreign policy orientations of the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia. ● The two primary components of any system are actors and structure. ● Interests and capabilities distinguish all actors.

Module #2 - Concepts

● The three dimensions of interests are (1) security (2) economic (3) ideational. ● National interests are often contested by Americans. For example, democrats and republicans may have differing opinions on how best to support homeland security. Given the potential for domestic political conflict on how national interests should be defined, institutions such as elections play an important role in determining the national interests the government should pursue by aggregating the differing preferences that exist.

Module #3 - Concepts

● There are seven alternative visions of grand strategy. They should not be viewed as absolute, but in relation to one another. Grand strategies vary based on different dimensions, interests, threats, and needs.

● The seven post Cold War U.S. grand strategy possibilities are isolationism, offshore balancing, restraint (fusion of isolationism, offshore balancing, and selective engagement), selective engagement, liberal internationalism, liberal hegemony (fusion of liberal internationalism and primacy), and primacy. These grand strategies should be thought of in terms of a spectrum. There is overlap among strategies.

○ Obama’s West Point Speech - In this speech the Obama administration elevated terrorism as the U.S.’s biggest threat and primary national interest. Obama talks about the moral obligation of the U.S. to promote global freedom, addressing the ethical element of foreign policy. The speech highlights the administrations grand strategy goals and means. Obama wants to decrease the use of American troops abroad and increase reliance on local military and partners. This is in stark contrast to the former Bush administration’s reliance on military force.

○ George Washington’s Farewell Address - helped begin the U.S. tradition of isolationism. Washington was fed up with French meddling in U.S.


politics. He advocated as little political connection as possible with foreign nations. Washington desired to steer clear of foreign alliances and conflict. ● Republican administrations in the 1920s adopted a similar isolationist approach post-Wilson administration. This approach included tax cuts, demobilization, and little foreign involvement. After the Treaty of Versailles and the end of WWI, the U.S. stepped back and focused on domestic interests. The first term of FDR was extremely isolationists.


● The 2019 government shutdown revolved around the demand from Trump for $5.7 billion to fund construction of a southern border wall. In December 2018 he refused to sign any spending bill that did not include wall funding. On December 22 a partial government shutdown began. For 85 days the federal government was partially closed, this was the longest shutdown in history. Approximately 800,000 government employees were furloughed or worked unpaid. Issues ensued as many TSA agents didn’t report to work. The same occurred at the IRS. Thousands of government contractors were also out of work. The shutdown cost approximately $11 billion. About ¼ of the $11 billion was lost permanently. The cost of the shutdown was nearly double the $5.7 billion requested by Trump. The CBD said that the shutdown would reduce the 1st quarter economic growth by about .4 percentage points (which is apparently a lot). The government reopened on January 25 until February 15. The deal was considered a win for democrats as no funding for the wall was included and democrats’ demands were matched. A bipartisan committee of 17 congressmen are tasked to work out a deal that will pass both houses of congress. If no deal is reached there could be another shutdown. Trump could also declare a state of emergency and use defense spending to build his wall.

○ Factors that allowed for the democrat victory include commercial airline delays and mounting pressure on Trump. This pressure included polls blaming him for the shutdown. Additionally, government workers missing their second paycheck created added pressure to reach a deal. Pelosi strategically saying that the state of the union should occur once the government reopened disallowed Trump a national audience to blame democrats for the shutdown. Another factor was the fact that democrats remained united during the shutdown while many republicans split. During the shutdown Trump had the lowest approval ratings among his main


constituents. Public opinion pressured the president to reach a deal.

However, after the deal was reached Trump got more backlash from Republicans for not delivering on the wall.

Module #4 - Concepts

● Grand strategies clump foreign policy ideas together in the same way partisanship clumps domestic policies.

● American presidents who could be considered selective engagists or offshore balancers include (1) President Eisenhower - sought to push more responsibility for the defense of Europe on Europeans to make the Cold War sustainable at home. He sought to balance peace among the powers with nuclear weapons to keep the Soviet Union at bay. He pulled back ground troops in Europe and relied on U.S. allies. Eisenhower worried that isolationists would shift in power and allow the Soviet Union to increase in power and influence. (2) George H. W. Bush - was cautious with respect to the collapse of Soviet influence in Europe. He resisted calls to seize upon Gorbechev's political weakness. He also worked through NATO to manage the unification of Germany. Bush argued that including Germany in NATO would give leverage to the U.S. and U.K. to constrain German foreign policy.

● Woodrow Wilson - adopted a grand strategy of Liberal Internationalism. He was willing to use military force and international institutions to champion foreign policy goals. He made a collective security system through the league of nations, opened sea navigation, and promoted democratic, anti-imperialism values. He sought to undermine traditional european empires. Problems with Wilson’s system included the fact that he was unsure of how to enforce his League of Nations mandates and he couldn’t get support for the league from Congress.

● George W. Bush - adopted a grand strategy that could be considered primacy. Bush’s foreign policy was nestled in Neo-conservatism. Bush campaigned with offshore balancing as his grand strategy, but it shifted to primacy during his presidency after 9/11. There was a strong push to act unilaterally against threats post 9/11. Multilateral work was too straining when many threats required immediate responses. He wanted to use democracy as a means to change the world in favor of the U.S.

● There is some overlap between grand strategies. For example, selective engagement largely overlaps with offshore balancing. Each of the grand strategies contains a series of components. (1) they outline national interests to guide foreign


policy (2) they often contain a series of preferences over the best policy means or tools that the U.S. should use to fulfill its goals and interests (3) they often define the principle threats facing the U.S. (4) they often rest on theoretical propositions about how the world works. Many politicians borrow elements from multiple

grand strategies when fashioning their own foreign policy.

● Donald Trump - adopted an “America First” policy which included a centrality of economic interest and a mercantilist vision of foreign policy. Trump believes that U.S. trade has been exploited through outsourcing and currency in China. Trump advocates protective trade policy such as tariffs. The Trump administration had four original goals (1) protect the homeland and U.S. sovereignty (2) protect U.S. prosperity (3) preserve peace by rebuilding the military (4) advance American influence abroad. Trump held a state centric view of foreign policy and a deep skepticism of multilateral international organizations and agreements (NATO, NAFTA, etc). He implemented immigration restrictions and resisted new troop deployment. Overall, the Trump administration is some combination of offshore balancing, isolationism, and restraint. 

Module #5 - Concepts

● The constitutional basis for presidential authority over war and foreign policy can be found in Article 2. The most famous clause is the Commander in Chief clause (Article 2, Section 2.). Presidents use this clause to legitimate their use of force around the world without a congressional declaration of war. The constitution also explicitly gives the president the power to make treaties and appoint ambassadors.

● Article 2, Section 1 gives president's executive power which they often use to claim predominance over foreign policy. Some argue that this was the founders’ intent. Thomas Jefferson argued that any powers not given to a specific branch default to the president due to his executive power. Separation of power however, can limit presidential overreach. Ex: the president needs a ⅔ majority within the Senate to pass any treaty. Also, the war making power is split between the president and congress. Article 1, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war and raise and fund armies. Congress hasn’t officially declared war since WWII.

● A key function of the executive branch is to implement foreign policy decisions reached by Congress and the President. Decisions about how to implement policy can impact the policy itself. There are three aspects of bureaucratic politics in


foreign policy (1) the management of responsibilities of the president and national security council staff over the foreign policy bureaucracy process. (2) when different agency heads possess different foreign policy goals with different ideas about responding to a threat this can activate political conflict against these agencies and lead to competition to influence the president. Then it comes down to the president to choose who to support. How the president and national security advisor structure this competition can shape its outcomes. Ex: Who gets invited to meetings? If you’re not in the room it’s harder to influence the decision. Competition about going to Iraq in 2003 contributed to post-war chaos in Iraq and fueled intense resentment about the U.S. invasion. (3) when bureaucratic interests are not only driven by their assessment of what the best policy might be to meet interests, but also by their assessment of which policy might maximize the influence of that specific bureaucratic agency. Competing interests among agencies generated by “turf” wars over organization competition. Sometimes they will use resource control for leverage.

Module #6 - Concepts

● War enables an executive to expand his institutional authority at home. During war time presidents get more of what they want on the homefront in domestic politics. Congress votes closer to presidential preferences in wartime. The Howell, Jackman, and Rogowski reading explains that because the president represents a much larger constituency than congress he is less likely to be partisan. Members of Congress have both national and local interests but war changes the relative importance of local and national goals and focuses Congress on national policy. As a result, in wartime Congress tends to move closer to the president’s position, enhancing his authority. The president is also more well informed with intelligence than Congress during wartime, pressuring Congress to trust his opinion is more informed than theirs.

● The president’s power over foreign policy has expanded over the past few decades. Congress is given constitutional power over foreign policy through (1) Congress has the sole power to declare war. (2) Congress has “power of the purse” and funds the military (3) the Senate can block a president’s treaty if over ⅓ of the body objects. Unfortunately for Congress, post-WW11 many troops have been deployed without a formal declaration of war. There has been a trend since the end of the Cold War for the Senate to block any and all treaties pursued by the president. The president can work around this with stealth multilateralism.


● Congress can shape foreign policy by using its constitutional powers of oversight to limit presidential action. The extent to which Congress engages in this oversight process depends upon the presence of divided government. Research suggests that Congress is more active in checking presidential authority in foreign policy when divided government is present. This is because Congress can use its powers of oversight to criticize the policy of the president. Criticizing the president can improve the electoral fortunes of the opposing party in the next election. The information advantage of the president also increases congressional oversight because the president is more likely to share information with his own party so opposition increase oversight to offset this advantage. Congressional opposition can be an effective constraint on the use of military force by the president. The president is less likely to engage in military force as the opposition party gains seats in Congress. Congressional officials can use their positions to grab the bully pulpit and influence public opinion about the president by trying to influence how the media covers the president. Congress holds more hearings about foreign policy in divided government which allows Congress a platform to voice their displeasure. Partisanship increases critical coverage in the news.

● Congressional oversight in regards to foreign policy can include calling public hearings and using access to news media to spread opinion. It can also include passing legislation to restrict presidential action and setting conditions on spending bills to implement policy.

Module #7 - Concepts

● In a democracy like the U.S., the content of foreign policy depends on the wants of the citizens and how they participate in the political process. Research shows that women are more likely to oppose policies that increase international trade. Christians tend to support ties with Israel. Politicians are more likely to listen to societal groups who speak for large numbers of voters and can mobilize financial resources for campaigns. Consumers often possess little influence over trade policy because they don’t lobby or mobilize campaigns. Politicians learn what the public wants through polls.

● Not all voices in a democracy are heard equally in the policy making process. This is partly because politicians tend to listen to people/groups that are loud and can gain media attention, influencing the views of others and have money. Module #8 - Concepts


● Wars for independence cannot be understood by solely looking at the internal struggle between two sets of actors. Instead, involvement of foreign actors has played a huge role in setting the conditions associated with statehood and independence for both the U.S. and Ukraine.

● Backlash from the American colonists to higher taxes and new constraints on local government was much larger than the British expected. The colonists faces a dilemma. Great Britain was arguably the strongest power in the world and its powerful navy could choke off U.S. economy. Additionally, there was an imbalance in the size of armies. In short, the colonists needed external help to be victorious against the British. The U.S. turned to France, the traditional rival of Great Britain. The colonists needed capital, war equipment, and French advisors to train U.S. soldiers and fight alongside them. The Declaration of Independence broke any chance at compromise. It also convinced the French that the colonists were worthy of their support. The alliance with France was further solidified with the victory at Saratoga which signalled a chance at beating Britain. The deal with France required the French to fight with the colonists until victory was reached. The deal also guaranteed that no separate peace agreements with Great Britain would be reached and that France would receive British possessions in the West Indies. France extended this agreement and got Spain to join in while Russia helped out by forming an armed neutrality to protect neutral shipping to offset the British navy. The colonists’ bid for independence provoked a global coalition against Great Britain. This global coalition had a large role in U.S. military victory and the favorable territorial settlement to the U.S. The British faced many decentralized enemies and therefore couldn’t employ traditional war tactics. The British eventually made significance concessions because of the costs of the war and the threat of continuing conflict in Europe. The long anglo-French rivalry played a central role in U.S. victory.

● Institutions matter and shape the conduct of foreign policy. The loose union among the states contributed to the political and military weaknesses of the U.S. relative to Europe, This weakness risked another European military intervention. These fears of external security threats played a critical role in the development of the domestic institutions of the U.S. They helped stimulate ratification of the constitution. The threat of war prompted the development of internal institutions integral to the U.S.. Negotiations to bind the states together began in 1777 and culminated in 1781 with the Articles of Confederation.


● Connections between the American revolution and the French revolution are important because they help provide important context for the establishment of isolationism for U.S. foreign policy until WWII. Attempts by the both the British and French to pay for the 7 Years War and the U.S. revolution helped to contribute to revolutions. The French revolution activated widespread total war that engulfed Europe prompting American withdrawal from European politics.

● The pressures associated with war in Europe played a central role in the development of the U.S. during its first four decades.

Good luck guys :)

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