01: U.S. Traditions
02: America’s global involvement and the Emergence of the Cold War
03: The Cold War Consensus and Challenges to It
McCormick Part I : Values and Policies in American Foreign Affairs
Notes by Melanie Blair Casebere from 5e (spring 2015)
Values and beliefs have been chosen as the basic organizing scheme b/c policy actions are always taken within such a context.
The importance of values and beliefs is only useful within the context of actual foreign policy (fp) behavior.
Two important traditions in US fp:• A commitment to isolationismThe containment of Communism was 1.) a dramatic departure from America’s isolationist past, and 2.) was a reflection of substantial continuity because 1.) it called for universal action on the part of the US, and 2.) because it sought to be ground in moral principle.
• Reliance on moral principle as foreign policy guides.
The values and beliefs that came from the Cold War (CW) consensus came to dominate America’s thinking about its role in the world from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s.
These Cold War beliefs were criticized from abroad and at home, and commitment to them within the American leadership and w/i the public changed.
With the breakdown of the Cold War consensus, finalized by the Vietnam War, succeeding administrations attempted to establish new foreign policy perspectives to replace this shattered worldview.
From the late 1960’s to the present, the dominant beliefs of the US policy makers have shown considerable fluctuation from one administration to the next.
Emphasis on different values by different administrations have produced differing foreign policies.• Late 1960s, Nixon Administration: “realist.” Sought “power politics.”• Both:
• Early 1970s, Jimmy Carter’s Admin.: “idealist.” Sought moral content.o Failed to maintain the support of Americans• President Ragan took a “bipolar” view of the world, similar to approach of CW politics which, like the others, started with success and ended with general resistance.
o Came under attack from abroad and at home.
• Reagan’s approach came to be replaced with one more accommodative in bilateral relations with the SU (Soviet Union), even as the SU continued to challenge the US for global influence.
As the CW ended, the administration took on fp values that allow it to address the transformations in the world.
Its approach largely resembled a combination of realism and idealism, but it failed to set a clear course for the post—CW era.
• Approaches of Bush and Clintono Failed to capture the imaginations of AmericansBy the end of the Bush term, the United States was still seeking both
o Were Unable to leave a permanent foreign policy legacy.• To extricate itself from Iran
• To develop a foreign policy for a new era.
McCormick Ch.1 (2015) America’s Traditions in Foreign Policy
Summarized by Melanie Blair Casebere, Spring 2015
Politics, at its roots, deals with values, which differ among individuals, groups, and nations.
According to this definition, what authority structures (ie: gov’ts) distribute is values.
Values: the “modes of conduct and end-states of existence” that guide people’s lives.
Liberty/freedom is one value that differentiates the US from so many other nations.
Values, Beliefs, and FOREIGN POLICY
By identifying the values and beliefs the American society fosters, we ought to be in a good position to understand how they have shaped out actions toward the rest of the world.
Milton Rokeach’s definition of beliefs: Propositions “inferred from what a person says or does” whose content “may describe an obj. as true or false; evaluate it as something good or bad; or advocate a certain course of action as desirable or undesirable.”
Some beliefs are more central in accounting for individuals values.
M. Rokeach’s definition of value: “…a type of belief, centrally located within one’s total belief system, about how one ought, or ought not, behave, or about some end state of existence worth, or not worth, attaining.”
Core beliefs = Values.
Although these values are likely to be few in number, they are crucial to an understanding of the attitudes and behaviors that an individual expresses.
By extension, nation-states operate as individuals do b/c they are ultimately comprised of individuals.
The use of values and beliefs as our organizing schemes fits broadly within the constructivist tradition in the study of foreign policy and international relations. This focus contrast with the rational actor model, the organizational process model, and the governmental/bureaucratic politics model.
Rational actor model: Begins with the assumption that nations (like individuals) are self-interested and seek to maximize their payoffs (or outcomes) when making foreign policy decisions. The key to understanding foreign policy is to identify a state’s policy preference and their rank orderings, however the source of these state preferences and relative ordering has not been well explored.
Organizational process model: Focuses more on identifying the decision-making routines of policy makers; thus, it sees foreign policy behavior more as a result of org.s following standing operating procedures.
Bureaucratic politics model: Holds its primary focus the completion among bureaucracies. Because each bureaucracy has institutional beliefs that it seeks to maximize, the bureaucratic politics model pays some attention to values and beliefs.
The political difficulties in focusing on values and beliefs and in assuming a direct analogy between individuals and nation-states (ns) are:
• Factors such as: the idiosyncratic personality of traits of some leaders; dynamics of the bureaucratic enviro.; and the restraints of the gov’tal process will intrude on a complete identification of a nation’s values and beliefs.
• Who’s values count as the national values—the public, elite, leaders? We will mainly focus on the values of the politically elite, but there are times when the values of the public come into play.
• By focusing on v’s and b’s, and using them as an explanation for US foreign policy, we are close to relying on political culture or the national character (approach) explanation of behavior. The nc approach has several key assumptions that are difficult to maintain and thus make it a limited approach that cannot be 100% relied on.
o Such assumptions are:
All the citizens share a common psychological make-up/values system that makes them different from citizens in other nations.
That this values national character/values system persist without any major change over a relatively long period of time.
That there IS a traceable relationship between individual character and national goals.
Rationales for Values and Beliefs
The values approach is a sufficiently useful 1st step in policy analysis to the point that it warrants more coverage than it receives.
We will assess the changes in value emphasis and consistency.
First, the US was founded on a certain set of values, which makes it look at itself differently than other nations.
1st It’s the US’s desire to justify its actions within a value context that emphasizes the role of principles in US foreign policy.
2nd The values guiding US conduct over foreign affairs have changed in the past years from isolationism to globalism.
With such discernible shifts throughout the recent history of US foreign policy and the current search for a definitive set of foreign policy values, a familiarity with both past value approaches and their policy implications is important as the US looks towards the 21st cen.
3rd The lack of consensus on foreign policy at either the elite or mass level in American society today invites the use of a values approach.
4th On the normative level, there have lately been efforts by propionate political scientists to revitalize the role of values in foreign policy and international relations.
The Ultimate Decision: A Democratic State
US is different b/c it came into being with a set of values that made it a democratic nation in a worlds on monarchies and autocracies.
In short, American exceptionalism came to be a key tradition in guiding American actions abroad.
A Free Society
In 1776, the US was explicitly conceived in liberty and equality, in contrast to other nations.
America follows classical liberalism where the individual’s role is paramount and the role of government is limited.
Equality b4 the Law
From such a concern for the individual, personal freedom and personal achievement naturally emerge as cherished American values.
Although equality of opportunity was important, the freedom to determine one’s own level of achievement remained the dominant characteristic of this new society.
Alexis de Tocqueville was a prominent visitor to the US in 1831 and 1832 and in his book Democracy in America, he expressed his amazement at the country’s social democracy; its equality between men of all classes; and its popular sovereignty.
De Tocqueville’s admiration for America was profound, but he raised concerns about this equality and its implication for governance in domestic and foreign policy matters
The Importance of Domestic Values
A 3rd important way America differed from is European counterparts is its early leaders views on domestic values and foreign policy.
American leaders did not see foreign policy as having primacy over domestic policy.
Thomas Jefferson states it nicely, saying “The objectives of foreign policy were but a means to the ends of protecting and promoting the goals of domestic society…”
The Dual Emphasis on Isolationism and Moral Principle
B/c of America’s view of domestic over foreign policy, 2 traditions occurred.
1.) An emphasis on isolationism in decisions regarding involvement abroad and
2.) An emphasis on moral principle in shaping that involvement.
The Role of Isolationism in American FOREIGN POLICY
Early leaders feared that international ties would compromise their American values and entangle them in alien conflicts.
Therefore, throughout the greatest part of America’s history, isolationism best describes America’s foreign policy approach.
Two Statements on Isolationism
The two statements in early history that accurately describe America’s policy of isolationism are Washington’s Farewell Address (Sep. 1796) and the Monroe Doctrine.
Washington’s Farewell Address: Set general guidelines isolationism
1.) Involvement in factions (political parties)
2.) Sectional divisions ( East vs. West/North vs. South)
3.) International entanglement
Stated that, although the foreign policy of the US should not be one of total noninvolvement due to the benefit of trade, America should NOT make any permanent political bonds to other countries, especially Europe.
Monroe Doctrine: Set specific guideline for US involvement in international affairs.
It’s main themes were:
1.) The maintenance of the status quo in Latin America as well and an end to Euro.an colonization in Latin America.
2.) The difference in the political systems of America and Europe
3.) US intentions not to interfere in Euro.an affairs.
By highlighting the difference between the US and Europe toward each other and toward Latin America the Monroe Doctrine emphasized the difference between the Western and Eastern Hemispheres—the New world vs. the Old world, gaving rise to the “two spheres” concept in American foreign policy
By asserting that the “rights and interest” of the US would be affected by Euro.an involvement in in the Western Hemisphere, Monroe’s doctrine made it clear that the US did have political interest beyond its borders.
The Isolationist Tradition in the 19th Century
As a result of America’s isolationism in foreign policy during the 19th cen., the emerged a severe restriction on treaty commitments that would blind it politically to other nations.
However, a survey of treaties—that did not threaten entanglement—showed that America did make a number of “political” agreements to facilitate amicable trade relations.
The true single alliance between 1778-1899 was the treaty with France, which was ultimately allowed to lapse in 1800.
1947-1960 tells a totally different story:
• The number of international agreements went from a total of just over 600 in a timespan of a century and twenty yr.s to over 4,900 in the timespan of 14yr.s
• Alliances and Multilateral commitments rose and now make up over 30% of the US’s total of commitments.
However, at least 15% of US multilateral pacts in the immediate postwar years were defense commitments.
Nonetheless, as we can see—from President James K. Polk and the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (stating that neither the US nor Britain would go after control of the Panama canal, nor would either try to colonize Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central America.), to Pres. Grover Cleveland’s enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine over the boundary dispute between Venezuela and Britain—that the US was not wholly isolationist, especially in regard to the Western Hemisphere.
Moreover, many of these actions had a unilateral bent to them, further specifying the nature of American actions abroad.
The Isolationist Tradition in the Early 20th Cen.
Despite the appeal of imperial expansion for some American leaders, global isolationism and noninvolvement continued to be the guiding principle in much of America’s interactions w/ Europe in the early 20th cen.
Only when moral principles justified intervention, such as it supposedly did with the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI, was isolationism temporarily abandoned, and even then intervention largely laid as a last resort.
In social policy, perhaps the most notable development in the early 20th cen. was the passage of the National Origins Act of 1924.
The National Origins Act of 1924 restricted further immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and prohibited all immigration from Asia. Importantly, it also represents an attempt to control foreign influences.
In the economic policy, the Smoot-Hawley tariff (1930) was passed.
The Smoot-Hawley tariff (1930) imposed high tariffs on foreign products to be sold in the US, and was a further attempt to isolate the nation from global economic influences.
After WWI, a “return to normalcy” was the dominate theme, implying a more isolationist and pacific approach toward world affairs. This return to normalcy was manifested in the American refusal to join the League of Nations established after the war.
US efforts—from refusing to join the LoN or to recognize the SU (until 1933) to the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928 (attempting to outlaw war)—were to eliminate international conflicts and were seen as a moral reparation for involvement in WWI.
These efforts show that international reform was wholly consistent with domestic reform in the minds of many Americans at that time.
Involvement in Latin America in the 20th century.
In 1904 Pres. T Roosevelt refined the meaning of the Monroe Doctrine by making the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which expanded US involvement in the Western Hemisphere.
Though the Monroe Doctrine has been initiated to prevent intervention abroad, Roosevelt’s refinement justify US intervention close to home.
The Roosevelt Corollary was quickly implemented in 1905 by American intervention in the Dominican Republic to manage its economic affairs and to prevent any other outsider interference.
In addition, the US established a protectorate over Panama from 1903 to 1939 and over Cuba from 1898 to 1934.
The Monroe Doctrine (MD) in the Present Era
Since WW2 the MD has hardly lost its relevance for American policy.
In April 1965, when Communists were allegedly seizing power in the Dominican Republic., Pres. Lyndon Johnson sent in some 23,000 U.S and Organization of American States (OAS) forces to protect American citizens and to restore a gov’t more to America’s liking.
Over the past 40 yr.s, the tenets on the MD have continued to shape American foreign policy in the Western (W.ern) Hemisphere.
During the 1980’s, both the Reagan and Bush admin.s were heavily involved in Panama. The US worried about the corrupt regime of Manuel Antonio Noriega and its implementations for American influences in that country.
The Reagan admin. sought and obtained his indictment in absentia on drug smuggling in Miami and undertook various efforts to oust him from power through American economic and diplomatic actions.
After a military coup covertly supported and encouraged by the Bush admin. failed in Oct. 1989, the US employed a military force totaling about 25,000 to overthrow the Noriega regime 2 months later, resulting in Noriega being brought to the US and imprisoned for drug trafficking.
The MD hovered in the background as an important political justification in 1994 when the Clinton admin. attempted to remove General Raoul Cedras and restored democratically elected Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti.
The George W. Bush admin. took an equally keen interest in the Western Hemisphere with support for legislation to aid Colombia in its fight against drug trafficking. Pres. W Bush directed US Marines into Haiti to restore and maintain order after Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country.
In short, the imperative to keep the Western Hemisphere free of outsiders and keep the MD alive continues.
The American view, since at least T Roosevelt, is largely that it should use its power to establish and maintain order in this region of the world.
The Role of Moral Principle in American Foreign Policy
A reliance on moral principle is a guide to world affairs.
Political Scientists have argued that discernable American attitudes developed toward such important political concepts such as the balance of power as a result of these global experiences.
More generally, moral values became an important feature of American policy making, and a very important characteristic of US foreign policy.
Moral Principle and the Balance of Power (bop)
The bop concept is predicated on several key elements:
• All states want to prevent large-scale war and preserve the exsistence of at least the major states in the international system
• All states are fundamentally motivated in their foreign policy by power considerations and national interest.
• States are willing and able to join alliances (and to change them) to prevent the dominance of any one state.
• There are few domestic political constraints preventing states from acting in the political arena.
The essence of the bop concept is the adroit use of diplomacy and bargaining, but it hold that force and violence should be used to perpetuate the system.
Until several decades ago, the US rejected philosophically virtually all the key assumptions of balance of power politics.
As Henry Kissinger put it, “It is part of American folklore that, while other nations have interest, we have responsibilities; while other nations are concerned with equilibrium, we are concerned with legal requirements of peace.”
These views on war and peace and force and diplomacy follow from Americans views on pp (power politics).
Americans hate the idea of “limited wars.” If the country must get involved, then an all-out effort to win should be made. If the cause is not important, then why should the US forces commit at all?
More generally, American peace building and humanitarian interventions have received decidedly mixed support from the American public and explain in part the impulse G W. Bush admin. in 2001 to reduce American actions abroad.
In contrast to Americans attitude toward limited war is Americans response to the “war on terrorism” immediately after 9/11.
However, support fell as Iraq dragged on and anti-terrorism efforts seemed to yield fewer quick successes.
In all, even though Americans support all-out efforts on war and peace, they become more skeptical of in-between measures and they expect quick and decisive results.
The public’s view on Force and Diplomacy (“coercive diplomacy”) parallels its attitudes toward peace and war. Americans generally believe that when a nation resorts to force, that force should be enough to meet the task at hand.
In instances like Korea and Vietnam, Americans generally don’t understand or accept “talking and fighting.”
American diplomacy itself has historically heavily influenced with this moral tradition.
Therefore it has been difficult for most Americans to understand how compromise is possible or necessary on some questions in global politics When to compromise, and on what principles, thus remain a source of debate.
Moral Principle and International Involvement
Before 1947, when America finally committed itself to global involvement, American engagement in international affairs was generally tied to explicit violations of international ethical standards by other states.
The War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, WWI, and WWII show how important moral principles are as justification for US involvement and foreign policy actions.
The War of 1812: The 1st instance when isolationism was put on hold in favor of moral principle after 1.) various efforts to avoid involvements with France and England, and 2.) it was perceived as continuous violations of an important principle of international law: freedom of the sea for neutral states.
The Spanish-American War: The concoction that go the US involved in 1898 was: The harsh Spanish treatment of the Cubans + the sinking of the American battleship Maine + the Spanish ambassador personally affronting Pres. William McKinley in a private letter = Let’s get involved.
There were few arguments made on the basis of how it would affect the national interest and, as it should be, moral arguments provided the dominant rational.
This war encouraged America to pursue expansion abroad with its seizure of the Philippines and so on, albeit they did so w/o the same moral umbrage as taken over Cuba.
WWI: American participation in WWI in 1917 and 1918 was also justified in terms of a moral imperative rather than as a response to the demands of the Euro.an bop.
In this case the ethical justification was provided by Germany’s violation of the principle of freedom of the seas and the right of neutrals through its unrestricted warfare in the Atlantic
WWII: Although the US had been assisting the allies prior to its formal involvement in WWII its reentry into world conflict was also only justified by the moral violation of Japan bombing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941.
Implications for US Involvement
America is reluctant to get internationally involved and only dose so when there is a clear violations of principles. Therefore, sustained American engagements in the world of power politics have been decidedly few and have been entered in only circumstances. After the 1st 3 global engagements discussed here the US moved back to its favored position of isolationism; none of these engagements brought about a basic change in American foreign policy orientation.
The strong American affinity for isolationism was vividly demonstrated at the end of WWI with the rejection of Pres. Woodrow Wilson’s proposal of idealistic foreign policy—commonly called “Wilsonian idealism.”
Wilsonian idealism key points:
• Moral principle should be the guide to US actions abroad.
• The Anglo-American values of liberty and liberal democratic institutions are worthy of emulation and promotion worldwide, and are necessary if world peace is to be realized.
• The old order of bop and interest politics, must be replaced by an order based on moral principles and cooperation by all states against international aggression.
• The US must continue to take an active role in bringing about these global reforms.
For Wilson moral principle should be the guide to US action abroad.
The most complete description of the new world the Wilson envisioned can probably be found in his Fourteen Points, which ultimately troubled many Americans b/c the last point deserted our founders preached idea of isolationist foreign policy. The last pt. called for the establishment of a collective security organization—League of Nations—that would rid the world of power politics and create a new order based on universal principles
In essence, Wilson’s collective security proposal would have moved the US away from isolationism and produce a strong moral cast to US involvement and to global politics generally.
Unfortunately for Wilson, everyone but his own country joined.
Despite America’s rejection of bop politics, it remained unwilling to increase a global/collective involvement in order to destroy it.
It really was not until Pearl Harbor that the US was shaken from its isolationist stance.
A reliance on isolationism and moral principle largely forms the essence of America’s past foreign policy.
WWII, the emergence of the Soviet challenge, and the Cold War would lead to the rejection of global noninvolvement, even as a commitment to moral principles on a global basis.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of terrorism on the US soil, the appeal of these traditional foreign policy values has been reinvigorated.
The magnitude of this new globalism evolved with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; however, the jurisdiction for these actions is deeply rooted in America’s promotion of freedom and democracy.
Ch. 3: The Cold War Consensus and Challenges to It