POS 273-Lecture 7: Foreign Policy

POS 273-Lecture 7: Foreign Policy



you hi everyone this is lecture 7 for POS 273 international relations an undergraduate course taught at the University of Maine I'm Rob Glover the instructor um so in this lecture we look at foreign policy and I'll say just as kind of a caveat before we get started that foreign policy is a really rich topic and there's a lot to go into and we could easily construct an entire class simply around foreign policy so a lot of the things that I just touch upon here in the lecture are dealt with in significantly more detail in your book and this is one of these lectures in which really the lecture in the chapter go hand in hand pretty well so if there's anything here that's unclear or something that you're more interested about you can go back to the chapter on foreign policy chapter four and kind of delve into more detail there and there's lots of good resources to kind of flesh some of this stuff out but primarily what I want to do is just give you kind of an overview of foreign policy and talk a little bit about just kind of how foreign policy and international relations intertwine what is the relationship between the two so the first thing that we'll do is ask what is foreign policy and who makes foreign policy we'll talk about what is national interest and how is national interest defined we'll ask how his foreign policy made what is the process by which it's made and what are the tools that states can use in crafting their foreign policy so there's kind of a toolbox anytime you're dealing with policy there's a toolbox that policy makers have at their disposal and what are the tools that states can use when they are crafting their foreign policy when they're actually developing kind of a strategy and trying to implement certain steps and then lastly will ask how can we assess and analyze foreign policy so looking at foreign policy over a historical time period or foreign policy linked with an individual what are some of the ways that we attempting to make sense of foreign policy can analyze and understand it so the first thing we have to do is define foreign policy you've probably heard that term in fact I'm sure you've heard that term foreign policy so what is foreign policy well your book defines it pretty well it's the articulation of national interests which we're going to talk about a little bit more in a second and the means chosen to secure those interests both material and ideational in the international arena okay so national interests we're going to talk about in just a sec I want to delve into that distinction between material and ideational interest a little bit when we talked about constructivism the theoretical perspective of constructivism we said that they define power a little bit differently than for instance a realist would and we did talk about this idea of ideational power that there's power that is you know linked to something beyond simply your military or the amount of money that you have as a country there's this ideational realm so if you've had some exposure to that term but let's talk about what these things mean in terms of interests so material interest would be very tangible concrete interests things that we desire things that we have a stake in the primary one really being physical security freedom from a terrorist attack freedom from invasion ensuring that we are safe that we're not threatened by any outside powers that might want to harm us or might want to engage in conflict with us that's really the core material interest that foreign policy aims to protect oftentimes some of these other interests drop out when physical security is threatened we're willing to make sacrifices in terms of trade and wealth and other things to ensure that we have physical security but material interest is more than that a lot of foreign policy deals with securing economic interests ensuring that we have a robust trade system where we're dealing with lots of countries investing in lots of countries lots of markets were are good that we're producing in the international political economic realm so trade is an important material interest wealth the overall share of the global kind of wealth distribution is an important material interest even things like natural resources we want to ensure that we have access to natural resources right now at least our economy is largely based on fossil fuels and a key driver of foreign policy or key interests that foreign policy serves to protect is ensuring that we have access to fossil fuels because our economy our society is so based on fossil fuels but it could be other things as well increasingly lots of foreign policy is dealing with rare earth metals which are used in a lot of key kind of electronic components and your laptop is probably going to filled with rare earth metals and it's a limited supply it's a finite resource so we try to ensure we have access to those things it can also be controlled territory if there's strategically important areas of the world that we want to ensure that we have military bases in or we want to ensure that you know we have the ability to fly over certain areas or to access certain shipping routes for example that would be a material interest that we would want to protect and we would construct our foreign policy around that material interests so these are things that are tangible things that are rooted in either a concrete physical security or economic wealth or or or natural resources and and access to territory things like that those are just examples there's more than that ideational interest is slightly different this is the realm of kind of ideas that would be promoting certain values certain norms certain ideals it could be a political system it could be an economic system for a long time the United States foreign policy at least in terms of what we say publicly have supported democracy motion throughout the world and that is you know that's not a material interest per se that is promoting a certain way of organizing your political system same thing with free markets and capitalism we have in general promoted the expansion of free markets where goods can move back and forth relatively easily without lots of controls and tariffs and barriers to trade that would be an ideation 'el interest that has some important links to material interests but you know just promoting capitalism promoting markets in and of itself is an ideational interest just values and norms respecting the will of the international community abiding by international law not engaging in behavior that is threatening and destabilizing to your neighbors and to your geographical region those are ideas those are values those are norms that we promote in the international arena it's a core part of our foreign policy and when a state like you know North Korea or a state like Syria violates those ideational interests those you know respecting the will of the international community and not destabilizing your region things like that then we become very concerned we start to try to utilize the foreign policy tools that we have to affect that change in values and norms and and behavior really so that's an important distinction to make material interest and ideational interest it's kind of an artificial distinction these things as I mentioned they can kind of intertwine and overlap but in general this is what foreign policy aims to do is we develop some articulation of our national interests at the state level so every country is going to have probably a different set of national interests and then we use foreign policy as a tool to try to secure promote those interests okay so that's what we're dealing with at a very general level and that's what most of today's lecture will cover is just how does this work what is the process by which this happens so who makes foreign policy now what's interesting about foreign policy is in general although there's lots of different types of countries in the world lots of different cultures lots of different political systems lots of different economic systems in general foreign policy looks essentially the same usually what you see in making foreign policy actually crafting foreign policy at least in the formal sense is the executive branch having primary responsibilities and then usually some sort of legislative branch having secondary responsibilities for foreign policy so in our own system the executive branch includes the president and then his cabinet and the various executive agencies right things like the State Department national security agency central intelligence agency right they have primary responsibility for crafting foreign policy it's one of the key responsibilities of the executive branch one of the key responsibilities of the president and his cabinet secretaries and under secretaries and then the legislative branch in our system usually has some sort of secondary responsibilities some sort of kind of advise and consent role when foreign policy is crafted so if for instance the president is going to authorize the military to go into a country for some sort of peacekeeping mission or some sort of you know action they have to seek the approval of the legislative branch except in very very extreme circumstances but usually they need to you know at least consult the legislative branch and seek their approval for use of force the defense budget for example a key and part of foreign policy is subject to oversight by the Congress so there's this kind of interplay between the executive and legislative branch in which if there was real real legislative disapproval of something that the executive branch was doing they have powers to shape that and to shut down things that they view as you know harmful or not in the best interest of the country but for the most part we assign that responsibility to the executive branch what's interesting is that that's what foreign policy looks like in most countries in the world there's the executive branch there's a president or a prime minister or a Chancellor some sort of executive figure they have some sort of cabinet although it's called different things in different places and then there's usually a legislative branch there's some sort of popularly elected geographically dispersed political entity that has secondary responsibility for those things so in general we're talking about an executive branch legislative branch having primary and secondary responsibilities for foreign policy now there's lots of informal actors who also play a role in foreign policy they might not craft the overarching vision they might have varying degrees of control over foreign policy but in general it's a mistake to think that foreign policy is simply dictated by you know the president and and their their cabinet members and the rest of societies shut out so there's lots of different informal actors that I list here government bureaucracies a bureaucracy could be it was a state agency it could be some kind of sub wing of the government that plays a role in crafting foreign policy or executing foreign policy they're an important formal informal actor we have sub-national governmental units so this could be States this could be provinces this could be various actors even at the municipal level you know mayors and City Council's sometimes play a role not necessarily in making foreign policy but engaging in diplomacy and having foreign relations with representatives from other countries so Maine for instance is a country that you know shares a border with another country and there's all sorts of interactions that happen between state officials in the state of Maine and then provincial officials in Canada or even sometimes federal representative the federal government sometimes you'll hear about individuals who are state level actors going on on trade missions to other countries right now our governor and some representatives just went to Iceland for the trade a series of trade negotiations trade talks basically you know how can we improve cooperation create economic ties between our countries China Taiwan all sorts of different places where these representatives of sub-national units in this case a state are going and interacting with foreign officials economic elites in the business community huge role very important right there they have interests in all sorts of different things that the government is doing with foreign policy they have lots of money they have lots of connections and they will try to influence the government to shape foreign policy in ways that they view to be beneficial nongovernmental organizations so for instance Amnesty International which is a non-governmental organisation related to human rights transparency international which is a group related to corruption around the world Freedom House which is another group another non-governmental organization that deals with civil liberties and individual freedoms these organizations do research they produce reports and they engage in advocacy and so they will try to shape foreign policy again they're not making it but they're playing a role think tanks think tanks are research centers in which you know skilled people with expertise produce reports and produce policy briefs and make suggestions and they can have a pretty significant influence on foreign policy and sometimes there's pretty fluid relationships fluid movement between think tanks and positions of political power when it comes to foreign policy the 2003 invasion a US invasion of Iraq for example the initial articulation of that idea that Saddam Hussein you know there should be a military action against Saddam Hussein should remove him from power and try to promote a democracy in Iraq there's a very influential a kind of open letter that was produced in think tank called a project for a new American Century in 1998 signed by people like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney that essentially laid out that idea and then sure enough five years later after 9/11 and after george w bush had become president a lot of those same individuals are in positions of foreign policymaking power within the administration actually executing that plan but originally it came from a think-tank one of these research organizations then the last three all kind of various constituencies various members of the broader public the media certainly plays a role there's all sorts of studies about how media coverage of specific events can influence the foreign policy that our our executive branch and our other foreign policy makers adopt how an issue is covered can if it's thrown into the national limelight that can really have a significant impact on foreign policy public intellectuals people that are you know respected and kind of well-regarded and have a public platform and advocate for certain policies and then even citizens in public discourse although in general foreign policy is an area in which citizens are pretty far removed from a lot of what happens there's incredible complexity a lot of key foreign policy decisions are made behind closed doors and we only find out about them afterwards it is not an area that is subject to the scrutiny that lots of other important political actions are subject to so citizens in public discourse do have an influence and they can shape policy but oftentimes they're kind of shut out of the process at least in actions that happen relatively quickly things that are a bit more longer-term trade deals and things like that maybe citizens to have an influence but rapid decisions on whether or not to use force in response to some emerging security threat maybe not maybe the citizens don't have so much power the key thing that I want you to get out of going through all these different actors is to just gain a sense that foreign policy in some senses looks pretty much the same around the world it follows a similar format in terms of who's making foreign policy and also to just kind of dismantle that notion that the president decides what foreign policy is going to be and there's not other actors involved in making foreign policy there's lots and lots of different actors and they can have a substantial impact on the process and on the eventual outcome of our foreign policy so keep those two things in mind okay so going back to our original definition we said that foreign policy is something that is articulating the national interest and then trying to secure those interests and we use that term a lot national interest and it's worth talking about what it means national interest in general is just kind of things that have some positive benefit or some crucial importance to a specific country it's defined in national terms right so the United States national interest might be slightly different than Canada's national interests which might be wildly different than China's national interest but the idea is that every country has certain key things that they want to see and they view to be crucially important for their success and survival as as a country but how is national interest defined and this is an area where those different theoretical perspectives are going to be really important in terms of how you think that process plays out I'll quickly run through them and this is again this is something that's dealt with in more detail in your book going back to realists remember that realists are crucially concerned about the the relative distribution of power and they think that countries States operate to maximize their power and to pursue power in the international arena unsurprisingly then realists are going to define national interests core into the pursuit of power they view power as the means to gain security power is the means to pursue those material and ideational interests if you don't have power you can't do those things so national interest is going to be defined in terms of achieving that power gaining that power in the international arena liberals are going to approach it a little bit differently liberals are looking for rule of law they're looking for global governance and they want to create institutions and regimes remember that regimes are just issue specific areas of international law that will promote those things that will promote global governance that will promote an orderly stable system that's relatively predictable and in which people representing countries hash out what the kind of standard operating procedure of States is going to be through negotiation through diplomacy through engaging with international institutions so for the Liberals that's your goal you know your goal is kind of established that system constructivists this is where it starts to get more fuzzy constructivists think that national interest will be a reflection of norms collective expectations of behavior and socially constructed understandings of what is good and appropriate for a specific state right so the United States has an understanding of what is good and what is appropriate and what it should be doing in the international realm and it's national interest will reflect that it will reflect that social construction there's nothing inherent in the United States that makes it pursue a certain national interest or define national interest in a certain way but over time we've constructed these patterns of understanding and so our national interest will reflect that for Marxists national interest is again Marxists are centrally concerned about economic that economic base and they think that everything else is superstructure everything else is secondary and flows out of its derivative of that economic base so for Marx as national interest is going to be a reflection of economic and political elites in a given society and it will reflect strategy to maximize economic benefits to those elites so that idea of class and hierarchy and inequality based on economics centers their definition of national interest for feminists it's really hard to say because there's so many different variants of feminism saying lots of different things and usually combining the feminist perspective with some of these other theoretical perspectives but what feminists would agree upon with national interests that is is that national interests will be shaped by gendered assumptions about what and who matters and I think they would say that it is often our national interest is often a reflection of male patriarchy it's a reflection of male dominance and the tendency of society to define what is important and what is essential in masculine terms and usually done excuse me by men right the people in positions of power overwhelmingly really in foreign policy are men so this is an area when we talk to the theoretical perspectives I said you know we don't just kind of run through these and then put them on a shelf and not apply them when thinking about national interest what theoretical perspective you adopt will have a significant impact on how you think national interest is defined a question to ask yourself and to think about a little bit is what is the national interest of the United States what are the material and ideational interests around which we construct our foreign policy and if you want to get a sense of this a good way to do this is to listen to any politician speak about u.s. foreign policy or international affairs their starting point for a discussion of foreign policy or international affairs or international relations what the US should be doing is usually some articulation of national interest so I have a short clip here that I'm going to play for you it's a clip of Obama it's several years old at this point this is actually a clip of Obama while he was on the campaign trail and fairly early in his political campaign in which he's talking about foreign policy this is you know in the context of a presidential election one of the key questions and key focus areas of the campaign and of potential voters and the media is going to be what would your foreign policy be if you were elected president and here this is Obama talking a little bit as a candidate about what his foreign policy would be and some of the mistakes of the administration so at this point he's a candidate the administration is referring to would be the current administration at that time the Bush administration and he's engaging in some critiques of the Bush administration so as you listen to this see if you can get a sense of how Obama at least in 2008 while he's on the campaign trail defined our national interest whether it's global terrorism or pandemic disease dramatic climate change or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction the threats we face as the dawn of the 21st century can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries the horrific attacks on that clear September day awakened us to that new reality and after 9/11 millions around the world were ready to stand with us they were willing to rally to our cause because it was their cause too because they knew that if America led the world toward a new era of global cooperation it would advance the security of people in our nation and all nations we know how badly this administration squandered that opportunity in 2002 I stated my opposition to the war in Iraq not only because it was an unnecessary diversion from the struggle against the terrorists to attacked us on September 11th but also because it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the threats that 9/11 brought to light I believed then and I believe now it was based on all ideologies and outdated strategies a determination to fight a 21st century struggle with a 20th century mindset there is no doubt that the mistakes of the past six years have made our current task more difficult world opinion has turned against us and after all the lives lost and the billions of dollars spent many Americans may find it tempting to turn inward and cede our claim of leadership in world affairs I insist however that such an abandonment of our leadership is a mistake that we must not make America cannot meet the threats of this century alone but the world cannot meet them without America we must neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission we must lead the world by deed and by example all right um so there's a lot there it's only a two minute clip but right at the outset you get a statement of what Obama at that point in 2008 considered to be some of the most serious threats he's setting the proliferation of weapons terrorism he talks at length about 9/11 and the attack on US targets in 9/11 so you get a sense of what he considers in those concrete threats to be you also get a very powerful sense of Obama at least at that point seeing that the United States has a role to play this kind of ideational conception of our role in the international arena and that it's a role leadership that it's it's we should lead by example and lead by deed and that we have an important role to play and we can't turn inward so it's a national his articulation of national interests is framed in such a way that you get the clear articulation of threat and the things that we need to be concerned about and also this sense of what our leadership role should be in the world it also sounds pretty liberal right he one of his major critiques of the administration is that they did not seek the support and approval of the global community and chose in many instances to kind of override it when it didn't match up with what they wanted to do or the types of actions that they wanted to pursue he so there he's articulating this sense that you know international law the respect for international institutions and seeking the support of our of our allies in the global community is really important so it sounds fairly liberal later in the lecture we go back to a pretty recent an interview interview that was done in 2014 I believe in which Obama sounds a little bit different and these much harder to place on you know is he a liberal is he a realist it's addresses it directly and it's it's very hard to say exactly what what camp you would fall on but there you know you get a sense of national interest both in concrete terms in those material terms and also in those ideational terms those broader senses of you know what are the norms what are the ideas what are the values that we want to protect through our foreign policy okay so let's talk a little bit about how foreign policy is made and this is something I'll go over kind of briefly quickly and there's more information on this specific topic in your in your chapter so how foreign policy has made one model for understanding that for thinking about what are the various stages how does the process actually go forward it's called the rational actor model it assumes that information is pretty concrete people assess information respond through various steps it's kind of you know just a series of stages there that are laid out in a very concrete way and it's a good way of thinking about the actual foreign policymaking process and a first step would be initiation or articulation of a foreign policy issue and this can happen internally or externally so articulation of a foreign policy issue may happen when one of the President or the Prime Minister's senior officials dealing with foreign policy comes to the the leader of the country and says look we have an issue there's a crisis in you know this specific region of the world we need to talk about what our immediate steps would be that can happen the process can be internal to the foreign policymaking apparatus it can also be external it can be external actors lobbying foreign policy makers lobbying world leaders and saying look here's this issue here's this humanitarian crisis here's this conflict situation here's this genocide that might be unfolding and you need to take steps and they try to rally public opinion and rally the media and create kind of the persuasion the persuasive case for why foreign policy steps need to be taken immediately so it can be initiated articulated by actors internal or external to the foreign policy making process it can also happen in the context of a political campaign the clip that you watched of President Obama is Obama during his campaign articulating a foreign policy vision in very general terms and then obviously once he was elected he had to meet with his senior advisor some of his cabinet officials and decide okay how do we take these kind of lofty somewhat abstract statements that have been making on the campaign trail and translate that into actual policymaking so that's step one that's articulation then you have formulation which is the actual creation of policy in that case the various officials associated with foreign policymaking this could be the executive branch it could be the legislature or the parliaments the ministries the cabinet officials the individuals associated with the executive branch that have a hand in foreign policymaking as well as bureaucratic agencies so in our country agencies like the Department of State the Central Intelligence Agency the National Security Agency these bureaucratic agencies that deal with issues related to foreign policy come together an attempt to hammer out what a policy response should be if there is foreign policy the actual process of formulation will depend on the nature of the foreign policy issue if we're dealing with a crisis situation if we're dealing with something that has a fairly high degree of urgency it tends to be a smaller group formulating the policy so in 1963 and we had the Cuban Missile Crisis you had President Kennedy and basically a small handful of advisers sitting in a room trying to figure out what is our response to what we think is probably the installation of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba 90 miles off the coast of Florida clear provocation a clear threat to the United States now interest and its security how do we deal with this and it was deemed of such urgency and such as to a situation of crisis that you needed to have that small group this couldn't be out in the public domain a variety of more recent instances what to do with the intelligence that we think we might know where uh sama bin Laden is again a small group making that decision and it was not publicly known until the foreign policy operate operation the mission to kill Osama bin Laden had actually been conducted successfully so formulation will the type the climate the nature of formulation will depend on what specific type of issue you're dealing with and the degree of crisis or urgency implementation occurs after you've already formulated the policy so the executive branch has crafted it or it's gone through various channels of government if it's something like you know a trade agreement it's been worked out with our trade representatives and then has passed in Congress it will really depend you know what the specific stage is leading up to implementation are based on the type of foreign policy issue that we're dealing with but once the foreign policy has actually approved in the various ways in which it needs to be approved it's someone's job and usually a whole variety of actors jobs to implement that policy so basically a process of assigning policy responsibilities to the relevant policy actors and ensuring that there's interagency cooperation that you know if something has a military component and then you know a bureaucratic component and various actors are involved in actually carrying out that policy then they're all working on the same page they're all working towards the same goals to implement that policy and then lastly the fourth step is evaluation now the first thing I'll say is that evaluation is relatively rare oftentimes foreign policy is occurring at such a pace and there's so many issues that are on the plate of our foreign policy makers that evaluation might just kind of never happen particularly if we're dealing with something that's relatively low-level it's not incredibly costly it's not incredibly high-stakes then you know evaluation might happen at some point well into the future but it's not necessarily built into the process there are some instances in which evaluation after foreign policy has been implemented is built-in sometimes you know things that are occurring from the executive branch they'll say all right we're going to try this strategy for now we'll come back in three months and revisit the situation and see if we should take a different approach sometimes through cooperation with international allies we build that process of review and evaluation into the steps that we take you know we have a meeting with foreign leaders foreign representatives dealing with foreign policy and we schedule that meeting at the point at which we take an initial step and then we come back and revisit our policy steps built into our domestic system in the United States there are various steps of evaluation there tends to be if we're dealing with something that has a fairly sizable expenditure if we're dealing with something like a you know military intervention that's costing millions or billions of dollars that has to be reviewed periodically by the legislature and the decision makers involved from the executive branch and from the military I would have to go before Congress and talk about how the policy is working talk about whether or not the expenditure is justified so sometimes for instances of major expenditure there is that legislative review function lastly there's external review external review in the sense of think tanks research organizations nongovernmental organizations may periodically review a country's policy in a given area so for instance one of the the major functions of organizations like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch is to periodically release reports on certain issues they can be country reports or they can be issue specific reports and they will actually eight you know here is the United States policy on XY and Z here are some of the concerns that we have here are some of the things that are being done well and they do this with countries throughout the world it's not simply the United States they issue a human rights report so that would be an instance in which a country's foreign policy is being subjected to some external scrutiny so that's just a very quick overview of the kind of process of foreign policy right from the initial point of articulation all the way through to evaluation after the fact or evaluation while foreign policy is ongoing okay one thing that I want to go into a little bit is kind of what are the tools available to foreign policy makers I'm going to talk about hard and soft power which is a distinction that you may have heard of and then we're going to talk about the carrot this stick in the sermon so think of foreign policy really any policy is an attempt to do something to introduce some sort of change to to confront a problem that has emerged to envision something new and create it put it in place and policy makers are going to have a certain set of tools in at their disposal it's like a backpack that they have that's filled with different things that as they confront different situations in the international arena they can kind of pull those out and use those things and we have different ways to categorize that these are just ways to help us make sense of the different things that states and policy makers crafting foreign policy do to attempt to to achieve their goals and to protect and advance national interest so the hard versus soft power distinction is developed by a guy named Joseph Nye he was an official in the Clinton administration he's a professor of international relations at Harvard University and a proponent of soft power he thinks that soft power is kind of underutilized but he makes this distinction between hard and soft power what would hard power be hard power is material threats or doucement that leaders employ to achieve the goals of their states right so this would be it can be something very confrontational it can be a military response no hard power could be sending in troops hard power could be launching some sort of bombing campaign something of that nature of you know hard power in the hardest sense of power hard power can also be material it can be economic inducements you hold out kind of a bargaining chip there's preferential trading status that you're going to grant to a country because you want them to do something or there's a country that you know you really need their help on security issues they have dangerous terrorist organizations operating within their country and you want their military or their police to crack down on those those dangerous entities and so you say look here's what we want you to do we can give you this foreign aid package we can provide you with military assistance maybe we'll give you some military hardware if you'll play ball with us a very concrete example North Korea you know periodically we have these crisis situations because North Korea is either you know in the process of developing or has actually tested nuclear weapons and North Korea will use these this weapons program to try and extract things from the international community so they say okay well you know we'll allow international inspectors to come in and get a sense of you know what we're up to but you need to provide us with food aid or you need to provide us with some form of cash assistance right so in that instance um there those would be material threats material inducements things that are material resources they're being used to push another state another set of leaders to to do what you them to do soft power is is more complex soft power you actually heard referred to in that short speech by Obama where he's talking about leading by deed and leading by example soft power refers to the influence and authority deriving from the interaction that a country's political social and economic ideas beliefs and practices have for people living in other countries so in that foreign policy speech that Obama was making in the campaign trail he was saying too often this administration has resorted to hard power they're either incentivizing other countries to do what they want through by providing them aid or providing them military assistance or they're just sending in the military or threatening to do so and really kind of coercing other states to do what they want and maybe we can envision a world in which we're respected and revered to such an extent that when we want a certain thing to happen we kind of lead by example right we want countries to be democracies so we're a really good democracy and we project that out into the world and then that inspires other countries to be better democracies like us or you know we lead through through our kind of promotion of a certain economic mindset but we don't compel States through material threats or material incentives to behave in that way we just are the example of what free markets and capitalism can do and then other countries will be drawn to that economic system that's the idea of soft power it's hard to quantify it's very hard to kind of pin down soft power in ways that hard power isn't right if you compel somebody to do something and they do it then that means that you have hard power soft powers is less tangible but are advocates of soft power like Joseph Nye would say it is absolutely essential it's no less essential so that's the distinction between a hard and soft power this stick the carrot and the sermon is a another way to categorize specific tools available to those crafting foreign-policy the stick refers to actions or measures that attempt to achieve certain outcomes through the use of material force or threat of force we're talking about military actions economic sanctions economic embargoes this is this is kind of the heavy-handed hardtack approach to foreign policy you're going to do what we want or we're going to invade you you're going to do what we want or we're going to punish you with economic sanctions when we talked about Russian and Crimea that this stick is in full force the economic sanctions against Russia are very very harsh and they are being rebuked and punished for things that they did that the international community and the major powers the g7 didn't agree with right that would be an instance the war in Iraq would be an instance of the stick right Saddam Hussein did not play ball and was not a productive member of the international community he did not do what the major powers wanted to do he did not do what the United States wanted him to do and after a long series of instances of defiance the United States used military action against him again the stick the carrot is actions or measures that attempt to achieve certain outcomes through positive material inducement this could be economic aid it could be military aid it could be technical assistance it could be again preferential trading agreements that really benefit one country so you hold out something that's kind of you know positive that will benefit a country and say here's what we can do for you if you do something else for us right so the carrot of carrot is positive and inducement in some material form right it could be economic it could be military it could be just the terms of a specific agreement technical assistance the carrot tries to achieve certain outcomes through through positively incentivizing those outcomes lastly the sermon is actions or measures that achieve certain outcomes through public diploma see sometimes you know the stick the carrot that's not the way to go about it it could be making a very kind of eloquent public argument that a country should behave in a certain way mobilizing the media behind a certain effort even things like cultural exchange you know sending our business people and students to a country and taking their business people and students in some sort of effort at cultural exchange is an attempt to achieve certain outcomes through public diplomacy through changing the discourse and changing the conversation around a certain issue in 2009 shortly after he was elected president barack obama went to the middle east and gave a talk in which he basically said that you know what the United States had done under the Bush administration had had a negative effect on the perceptions of the United States in the region and he wanted to change that discourse he wanted to change that perception and change the way that America and Americans were received in that region an attempt to he's not offering anything he's not threatening anything he's trying to change how we're perceived in the Middle East through the use of eloquent discourse and hopefully you know convince people that they are going to see a different United States foreign policy that would be an example of this sermon right so these are different tools this is another way to categorize different tools available to those individuals crafting foreign policy when we first started talking about international relations we talked about levels of analysis and levels of analysis are an important tool in trying to analyze and understand why foreign policy decisions are made and I'm not going to go into this this is you know when I said at the outset that you could spend and a semester just looking at foreign policy and analyzing foreign policy this is kind of what I was referring to this table appears in your book in Chapter four and basically what we're seeing here is all the different forms of explanation that have emerged for foreign policy decisions there's an entire field of international relations called foreign policy analysis in which researchers and analysts just look at foreign policy decision making and try and figure out what is influencing it and levels of analysis is really important there because depending on what level of analysis you're looking at that can radically shape your interpretation of why a certain foreign policy was pursued why why policy looked a certain way so there are explanations that focus on the individual level explanations that focus on the national level the systemic the global and all of them offer different accounts for specific foreign policy decisions you could look at the same decision you could look at you know our response to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s or our decision to go to war in World War two or our decision to go into Afghanistan you could look at any single concrete instance any single foreign policy decision and analyze it through these different levels of analysis and come up with potentially different explanations so I won't go into all of these there's far too many here I do this just to give you a sense of the complexity of our attempts to understand foreign policy and how many potential explanations there are for any foreign policy decision now at the individual level that's looking at individual decision-makers and by and large the types of analysis that has been done there is very much rooted in psychology and social psychology they look at how individuals analysts looking at the individual level of analysis will look at how individuals make decision how they process information personality and kind of different styles of thinking whether you know there's an incredibly complex style of thinking or less nuanced style of thinking the the individual influences for individual decision makers and how those impact the types of decision-making that they engage in in their foreign policy the the explanations are virtually limitless but the key thing with individual level analysis you're looking at individual leaders you'd be looking at Tony Blair or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or George W Bush and trying to get a sense of their personality and their understanding and their decision-making style as an explanation for key foreign policy decisions right the individual level deals with that national level becomes even more complex because you have all these different national influences that can potentially impact foreign policy domestic politics for example is looking at the domestic political forces and how they can shape and influence our foreign policy so for instance there was a series of articles in eventually a book that were written a few years ago about the role of the American Jewish lobby with regard to our policy in the Middle East and specifically our policy towards the country of Israel right and these two academics Stephen Walton John Mearsheimer argued that the single most important factor in our policy in the Middle East and how we engage with Israel is the role of a very very powerful Jewish lobby in the United States and their ability to control the domestic political situation both at the legislative level you know in Congress and then at the executive level to shape certain outcomes according to their interests that's the type of thing I deal with in domestic politics you know how is our policy towards Cuba influenced by the presence of Cuban immigrants in the United States and particularly in Florida which is a very important state politically a swing state for presidential elections things like that you can also look at things like the size of a country its resource base so how big are we what sorts of resources do we have Geographic factors our proximity to the countries that we're dealing with for instance or you know where we're located in the world what region were located in the world and whether that impacts our foreign policy making a lot of research is done on political structure and political system and whether or not that impacts foreign policy so there's a whole host of different national factors that play systemic you're moving up to the international system and so for instance when we talked about realism we said that structural realists were very concerned about the distribution of power and something called polarity how many major powers there are in the world now the international system is categories by realists according to those systems of polarity is it a unipolar system is it a bipolar system is a multipolar system and then they make certain claims about which system will be most stable well they do the same thing with foreign policy and say that if you want to understand foreign policy you want to understand why individual countries are engaging in certain actions look at polarity and certain configurations of polarity how many major powers there are in the world will lead to more or less aggressive foreign policy strategies okay so that would be that would be an example we could talk about whether the international system is relatively anarchic there isn't a lot of you control and governance above the level of the state or it's relatively orderly we could look at systems of treaties and alliances and formal alliance structures and use that as an attempt to explain why certain forms of foreign policy are happening and we could also look globally that's kind of the last level of analysis so we could look at social movements that operate over and above the international system that are truly global in scope that don't really correspond to any international borders we could look at environmental conditions you know the availability of a certain key natural resource or the impact that climate change has on foreign policymaking as some of the effects of global climate change become more pronounced and more severe does that start to change foreign policy does do economic interests become secondary to environmental protection that could be a really interesting research question on global mass media and then just you know ideas and values and norms that transcend culture and time you know global ideas global values global norms that we can't link clearly to any specific country or place but perhaps have an impact on foreign policy so levels of analysis really is the key tool that you use in terms of foreign policy analysis to determine what you're going to look at and what types of explanations you might arrive at what hypotheses you'll formulate and then you know what you'll ultimately conclude if you really want to take a serious look at foreign policy and why foreign policy is carried out in a specific way you want to understand why certain decisions are made lastly we'll talk about foreign policy vision one of the things that we talked about in examining foreign policy is the vision or you know is there a strategy and so in that we try to look at foreign policy over time and discern whether or not there is certain assumptions are there certain consistencies is there a certain kind of formula – what a foreign policy is attempting to do and can we say that there's a certain level of consistency to foreign policy over time one of the ways that we do this and your book talks about this a little bit is by the characteristics of a state right they break it up into great powers and middle powers and small states and say that these three different entities really approach foreign policy in fundamentally different ways because of the characteristics of their state the United States the UK China Russia they're going to have a certain approach to foreign policy and a certain certain sense of the role that they should play in the world that's going to look a certain way whereas you know Italy Canada the Netherlands middle powers are going to have a different set of expectations and then small states are going to have an entirely different strategy with regard to foreign policy that's one way that we could look at it the characteristics of a state you can also talk about cultural attributes of a country you start to look at countries that share certain cultural attributes and what are the consistencies in their foreign policy it's very interesting one example would be the countries of the Middle East right by and large those are Islamic countries and you look at their patterns of foreign aid and the amount of foreign aid that they give relative to the income of the country and it is extraordinarily high relative to other countries with other cultures and other world views I believe that you know countries like Kuwait Saudi Arabia will give something like 10 to 20 percent of their gross domestic product in in foreign aid and eight to two other places in the world and that relates to I mean one it relates to just the fact that they have an abundance of wealth they're trying to dispose of but two it results it relates to the Islamic world view which a key part of the Islamic view is the necessity of charity it means your Islamic duty it's your duty to Allah your duty to God to to provide charity to give alms to the poor and so that carries over actually into foreign policy you see other areas of the world the Scandinavian countries Canada is another example where the cultural attributes of that country have translated into a concern for human rights and a concern for humanitarianism so those countries have militaries they have foreign policy they have strategies that they use but it's not nearly as militaristic as some other countries in the world and it's very much certainly any time they use their their militaries it's usually framed in terms of humanitarianism and in terms of helping human beings in need and they act as advocates for human rights on the global scene in ways that really interestingly parallel the cultural attributes of their country so that's another way that you could look at is there a consistent foreign policy vision you can look at the just kind of the culture of a country and then how it translates into foreign policy decisions a way that we do it often in the United States though is related to the characteristics of a foreign policy leader often a president but not always and so we ask ourselves how did that leader define the national interest and what are the things that they did to protect and advance that national interest and then oftentimes if we can discern a certain consistency we see common assumptions we see common patterns we see consistent strategy applied over time then we refer to as a doctrine right so we do even though the presidency has just ended and kind of the the book is still open on george w bush in terms of some of the foreign policy steps that he initiated how they'll turn out in the long run we do talk about the Bush Doctrine some people even talk about the Rumsfeld doctrine Rumsfeld was Bush's Secretary of Defense and had a specific strategy for how to revamp and kind of utilize our military differently than had been done previously this we can go back in history and talk about this the Nixon Doctrine the Truman Doctrine can go back all the way to the 19th century and talk about the Monroe Doctrine right but all those things refer to those doctrines just refer to specific strategies specific consistent foreign policy strategies and assumptions made over time and a particular definition of the national interest so the Bush Doctrine it's safe to say at the outset of the Bush administration there wasn't necessarily a clear Bush Doctrine he didn't really view himself as a foreign policy president and didn't think that the world was in a place where foreign policy was going to define his presidency and then in 2001 9/11 happened and he quickly had to develop a doctrine and the doctrine that Bush developed was one that was kind of an interesting mix of elements of liberalism elements of that kind of classical liberalism and also a militarism that we hadn't seen in recent presidencies we hadn't seen the willingness to use the military in the way that Bush used it for quite some time in the American presidency so he was talking about things like democracy promotion he was talking about Democratic peace theory and how countries that had democratic regimes did not go to war and he was also talking about the importance of confronting failed States he was talking about you know states like Afghanistan or Somalia are threats because they can serve as a base of operations for terrorist organizations and wasn't super concerned about the international community having to provide support for every foreign policy decision that we made and didn't want to be hamstrung by international law thought that if international law was potentially in conflict with our national interest then we needed to push ahead and do what the country needed and then obviously with two foreign wars in Afghanistan and Iraq very willing to use the US military as a force to achieve and promote national interest as he defined it so that's the Bush Doctrine right I mean in a nutshell that's when we say the Bush Doctrine those are the types of things that were referring to the question that is still kind of open and which a lot of people have tried to figure out is what exactly is the Obama doctrine in a lot of ways he's not as consistent as Bush was with his foreign policy and although in his rhetoric the things that he says particularly in the on the campaign trail and then early in his presidency he sounded fairly liberal it sounds like kind of a liberal worldview he is engaged in some actions that don't seem to conform to that liberal worldview and I have been very controversial in in relation to the international system and human rights advocacy groups and all sorts of different things so it's hard to kind of put him in any box and this is one of those areas in which after Obama's presidency is over the foreign policy you know analysts are going to have lots to work with because it's been a very consequential presencing and there's been a lot that has happened and it's also very hard to pin down in any specific camp what is his view how does he view the world so I'm going to play a short clip and as you watch the following clip this I mentioned at the outset when we watch that clip of Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 this is a much more recent clip and one you'll get to see how much the presidency has aged Obama he's had a rough few years the presidency always ages everyone but you'll you'll see that just physically how it htm' but also you can see how maybe the foreign policy vision that's advanced here is a little bit different than what you saw from Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 so this is six years later but as you watch the clip think about what can you say about Obama's foreign policy vision in this interview over the years I've heard a number of different members of your team refer to your kind of philosophy in foreign affairs as realism is that is that a term you would use you know traditionally a lot of American foreign policy has been divided into the realist camp and the idealist camp and so if you're an idealist year's like Woodrow Wilson and you're out there with League of Nations and imagining everybody holding hands and singing Kumbaya if you're a realist then you know you're supporting dictators who happen to be our friends and and and I just don't think that that describes what a smart foreign policy should be what I do think is accurate in describing my foreign policy is we don't have military solutions to every problem in the 21st century the biggest challenge that we have right now is disorder ending two wars was important not because I was under any illusions that that would mean we wouldn't have any terrorist threat it does mean though that by not having a hundred and eighty thousand people in Iraq and Afghanistan it frees us up to be able to send a team to prevent Ebola double down on our investments and things like cyber security to look at the new threats and opportunities that are out there that's in no way a concession to this idea that America is withdrawing or there's not much we can do it's just a realistic assessment of how the world works so you you seem to resist the realist label earlier but when you talk about your goals in the Middle East you seem very concerned about disorder and you didn't mention anything like democracy or human rights and well it goes as you talked about partnering with its places like Egypt where they came to power in a military coup Saudi Arabia with public beheadings Brainware during the Arab Spring you know eating non-violent demonstrators we're pressing that very violently do you have any concerns about the sort of long-term sustainability of those kind of partnership well but this is a perfect example meant of where the division between realism and idealism kind of breaks down I am a firm believer that particularly in this modern Internet age the capacity of the old-style authoritarian government to sustain itself just is going to continue to weaken but in those conversations I'm also going to acknowledge that for a country that say has no experience in in democracy or as no functioning civil society or where the most organized factions are religious sects that progress is going to be happening and steps as opposed to in one big leap the goal of any good foreign policy is having a vision and aspirations and ideals but also recognize the world as it is where it is and figuring out how do you attack to the point where things are better than they were before it doesn't mean perfect it just means better you okay so I think there's a couple things worth noting here one is that here in 2014 we definitely see Obama problematizing the distinction between realism and idealism or sometimes idealism and liberalism are used interchangeably so that liberal kind of international global cooperation rhetoric that we saw earlier in 2008 is much more tempered here and Obama's recognize that you can't kind of represent either a realist perspective or a liberal perspective any smart foreign policy is going to have to be a mixture of both and in general that's kind of been the assessment of Obama's foreign policy is that it's hard to place in one camp or another it's really a mixture of different styles and in that sense it's very pragmatic it shows a certain degree of pragmatism it's focused on concrete problems concrete strategies and results as opposed to maintaining some sort of consistency in how problems are interpreted and the types of solutions that we craft you hear him say that the biggest challenge is disorder which kind of harkens back to that earlier liberal perspective and he also favors an activist role for the United States in foreign policy so the United States can't withdraw it can't isolate itself so in terms of that that those norms and values the ideational sense of how the United States considers itself he've used the United States is playing an activist role he does talk about things like democracy promotion Human Rights promotion but he does so with a recognition of limits and a recognition that any change that occurs is going to be incremental and happened over a long period of time and we see that he favors a mixture of hard and soft power and and in his foreign policy he has used the carrot certainly but also the stick and not infrequently the sermon so all of those different tools that we talk about in terms of foreign policy he's drawing upon all of those to attempt to achieve what he interprets to be the United States national interest I'd be really interested to see what struck you about the 2008 Obama and the 2014 Obama are we seeing a different Obama in 2014 after six years of foreign policymaking and actually being the president under his belt than we saw in 2008 and do you think that this these statements demonstrate some sort of overarching foreign policy vision and if so what is it so that's something to consider maybe for your discussion post this week so that's a quick overview of foreign policy as I said there's a lot there's a lot to foreign policy and foreign policy will come up certainly in the subsequent lectures that we have because so many important substantive international issues are a result of foreign policy visions foreign policy decisions the foreign policy strategies of various countries and of the major powers so we'll be talking about foreign policy throughout the course of this class for next time we start to talk about international organizations and law and so you're going to read in your chapter in your Lamy text chapter six which is all about international organizations and law as you read about international organizations and law ask yourself what are the key differences between quote unquote domestic law so law you know within the United States or within a specific country and international law and in what instances do you think international law is effective at shaping state behavior and in what instances is it ineffective so think about that question there's a lot of really important distinctions between domestic and international law and try to sort out for yourself before the next lecture what do you see to be the key differences there so we'll wrap up there for today and we'll be talking about international law next time thanks very much you

12 thoughts on “POS 273-Lecture 7: Foreign Policy

  1. A comprehensive job, thank you very much, Just two point, you have dropped out decision making process and group level of analysis.

  2. Good Day, Prof. Glover and thank you kindly for your insightful presentation. My frustration with the discipline of IR is the dominate old, white male perspective promulgated by all. I think you touch on it in a subtle manner in how you separate the interest of major, medium, and small powers. I would most enjoy studying under you because it appears you divorce yourself from the American lens and make a concerted effort to not go to that comfortable place of greatest hits, "white is right" and "might makes right." However, I take issue with the notion that because we in the US have a need (natural resources), then fulfilling that need (national interest), is solely within our prerogative. I believe this is imperialism by another name. And although the study is inspiring, it is dangerous to suggest such an ideology to your students. Because your students are the ones who will try to normalize relations with Cuba or pick a side and throw out the two-state solution. There must be a way to study and express these views without presenting them in such a way that if a policy was made by your students, the indigenous people who own the land where the resource resides would suffer or the US would have to go without. Having worked under Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, I am familiar with this line of thinking. Lives are at stake. I mixed my examples to illustrate how a philosophical ideology in one area has a corresponding affect in other areas. Very respectfully, please respond.

  3. Robert u are doing a fabulous job. Plz cover the topics power and its elements, state, nations and nationalism

  4. very interesting, very helpful and very informative lecture.
    thank you so much, I wish I could take your live class.

  5. Thank you indeed, Sir for your great presentation. This is Youheng, from Cambodia, currently studying in University of the Philippines Diliman.

  6. Thank you so much Dr. Glover for such deep and interesting lecture. It was very helpful.
    Best Regards.

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