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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign Policy. The System-Level of Analysis February 21, 2007. POLS 425 U.S. Foreign Policy System-Level Analysis. Quick Review : Individual, State, and System

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pols 425 u s foreign policy

POLS 425 U.S. Foreign Policy

The System-Level of Analysis

February 21, 2007

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Quick Review: Individual, State, and System

  • Individual-level: “Getting inside the ‘heads’” of policy makers; based on assumption that cognitive processes are important to understanding how decisions are made
  • State-level: Going beyond the individual to the state or societal level (“getting inside the state”); based on the assumption that individual-level decisions are deeply if not unavoidable shaped by broader processes, institutions, and forces that exist within a state and society
  • System-level: Going beyond or outside national or societal boundaries; based on the assumption that individual- and state-level decisions are profoundlyshaped by the dynamics of the international system as a whole

Individual

state

system

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis3
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

SomeQuestions: Individual, State, and System

  • Do states act the way they act because of who leads them?
  • Do states act the way they act in the world because of what they are, or how they are organized at a domestic level, or which domestic actors are important?
  • Do states act the way they do because of where they sit in the world (as defined by their relationships with other states in the international system)?

These are basic questions in any analysis of foreign policy behavior – in any understanding orexplanation of why states act the way they dotowards other states in the world

Individual

state

system

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis4
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Key Assumption in System-Level Analysis

  • States behave the way they do because of the position they occupy* in the international system (note: this basic assumption applies to both realism and Marxism)

At the simplest level, this tells us that the options available to states are determined largely by their position in the world relative to other states: “Big” (or strong) states act in one way, while “middle” and “small” states act in a different way in virtue of their power

This is especially true of great powers, superpowers, or thehegemonic Power(i.e., the United States)

* Does not refer to geographic position

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis5
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Key Assumption in System-Level Analysis

  • To most realists, a state’s position in the international system does not necessarily dictate what specific policy choices are made, but it does determine the basic parameters of state behavior

Examples.Small and medium-size powers are more likely to establish alliances with major power; in addition, they are essentially compelled to play subservient or subordinate roles in these alliances (i.e., they are “Junior partners”)

Major powers, on the other hand, are more likely to use force against weaker countries--especially those weaker countries that are not allied with other major powers; conversely, major powers are more likely to avoid confrontation with other major powers unless absolutely necessary

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Power in System-Level Analysis

  • The importance of relative power in the international system is paramount to realists; this is why realists are primarily concerned with the “major players” (or great powers)

Major Players: Possess the capability to stabilize, undermine or even destroy balance in the entire system

“Minor League” Players: Can damage or disrupt the operation of the system, but are still relatively unimportant

“Pee Wee League” Players: Irrelevant

Important

Irrelevant

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis7
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Power in System-Level Analysis

  • Consider the following countries. Which are Great Powers (“major league players”), which are Middle Powers (or “minor league players”), and which are Small Powers (or “pee wee leagues players)” on the international field?

Russia

Great Britain

China

Canada

Japan

Israel

North Korea

Iran

Haiti

Pakistan

Saudi Arabia

Mexico

India

Australia

How about al-Qaeda?

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

“Power” in System-Level Analysis: ASide Trip

  • In determining the relative strength of states it is imperative to have a clear definition of power, but this poses a problem because …

… there is no agreement among political scientists about the concept of power--what it is and how it should be defined and measured

So, what is power?

For now, just think about this question …

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

“Power” in System-Level Analysis: ASide Trip

  • “What is power?” is an important question, but we must also consider other related questions …
    • What are the sources of power?
    • How is power increased? How is it “lost”?
    • Are there limits on power? If so, what are these limits? Do the same limits apply in every circumstance?

Again, just think about this questions for now …

pols 425 u s foreign policy system level analysis10
POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

“Power” in System-Level Analysis: ASide Trip

  • Does power only grow out of the barrel of a gun (or a missile, or a tank, or bomb) as Mao Tse Tung famously put it?
  • In other words, is power strictly afunction of tangible military strength?Or, are there are critical aspectsof power?

Power grows out ofbarrel of a gun.

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

“Power” in System-Level Analysis: ASide Trip

  • Tangible sources of power are important; they create a certain level of state capability
  • “But capability does not translate directly into influence. A highly capable state may not be able to influence the foreign or domestic policies … of another state”
    • Consider the example of the U.S. mission to restore law and order to Somalia: Despite overwhelming military dominance, the United States’ ability to restore order was essentially nil • In this regard, Somalia underscores the fact that military superiority can be and often is limited
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

“Power” in System-Level Analysis

  • Current conflict in Iraq also demonstrates limits of military power
    • While overwhelming military superiority quickly disposed of Saddam’s regime and military,the same superiority cannot be applied to the insurgency
    • In fact, from the end of “major military operations,” the insurgency quickly strengthened and has since remained strong despite the overwhelming military capacity of the American forces
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Chart shows that American military power has been ineffective in stopping the Iraq insurgency

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The Limits of Military Power

  • The indiscriminate application of military force can be counterproductive depending on the context in which force is used
  • More generally, the indiscriminate application of military force can lead to a loss of influence (and relative power)

This discussion tells us that realist conceptions of power are very narrow, imprecise, and potentially misleading (at least to critics of realism)

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Who Gets to Be a Great Power?

  • To most realists (and many others), however, the debate over how to precisely define power is interesting, but ultimately unimportant; what matters is that we be able to clearly draw a line separating the “Also-rans” from the real “Powers,” and the line is fairly clear …

“Also-Rans”

Great Powers

FranceGermanyJapanIsraelIndiaPakistanSouth Korea

United StatesUnited KingdomRussiaChina

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Definition of a Great Power

“Great powers are states with both (extraordinarily) large military and economic capabilities, global political interests, and the will to protect and maintain those interests”

  • NOTE: This definition tells us, in part, that great power status is at least partly self-determined: even states with tremendous economic and military capabilities and global interests, may (intentionally) lack the will to protect and maintain those interests, e.g., Japan
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The Importance of Being (a Great Power)

  • The activity of great powers, while always self-interested, often has a extremely positive impact on a range of other states (thus making the great power appear to be altruistic)
  • In a related vein, great powers have an interest in maintaining (or undermining) the status quo of the system as a whole; thus, their interests are wide-ranging and generally extend beyond their immediate self-defense: great powers will use force to protect even non-vital interests
  • Great powers attained their positions through the largely unrestrained use of force, but great powers generally push for more and more restrictions on the use of force by others
  • Great powers employ grand strategies to identify, manage, and deal with threats, both potential and explicit
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • As the great power, the United States clearly fits the realist model of behavior …
    • U.S. behavior is unequivocally self-interested, but often has a veneer of altruism
    • Since the end of WWII, the U.S. has played the central role in maintaining and in restoring the status quo of the system as a whole: e.g., U.S. led the struggle against the Soviet Empire; in so doing, America engaged in several major conflicts beyond the country’s immediate self-defense: the Korean war, Vietnam, Iraq (1990), among many others

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. has led effort to spread “free markets” to the entire world; to deal with “rogue states”; to combat global terrorism, and so on

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • As the great power, the United States clearly fits the realist model of behavior (continued):
    • American preeminence is premised on the massive use of force against enemies--e.g., the U.S. is the only country in history to use atomic weapons against human beings, mainly civilians
    • At the same time, the United States is currently in the forefront of efforts to ensure that other countries never have the chance to possess weapons of mass destruction

From a realist perspective, it is importantto understand, such behavior is rationaland predictable

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • As the great power, the United States clearly fits the realist model of behavior (continued) …
    • United States has had a grand strategy designed to enhance American interests over the long-run

What are the elements of America’s grand strategy?

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • Elements of America’s (Postwar) Grand Strategy
    • Based on the principle of an “iron fist in a velvet glove”:

What is the “iron fist” of America’s grand strategy?

What is the “velvet glove” of America’s grand strategy?

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • Elements of America’s (Postwar) Grand Strategy
    • Velvet Glove: Economic and humanitarian aid programs; international cooperation and negotiation (through international organizations, such as the United Nations)
    • Iron Fist: Use of military power and threats to achieve national goals; willingness to subvert, even flout, international law and norms and to ignore international organizations whenever doing so serves American purposes
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Great Power

  • Why bother with the “velvet glove” at all? Why not all “iron fist” all the time?

Simple answer: Using non-coercive means to achieve goals has two basic advantages …

First, it is less _______________ than military force

Second, it creates a veneer of ___________________ .

costly

legitimacy

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as an Institution-Builder

  • During the postwar period, the US has expended a great deal of energy constructing international organizations, regimes, and institutions:
    • The United States was the architect of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (the predecessor of the World Trade Organization), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, among many others
    • The U.S. (and other major powers) pushed the establishment of numerous weapons’ treaties: the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, Seabed Arms Control Treaty, etc.
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as an Institution-Builder

  • Repeating Key Point: International institutions were created, first and foremost, to protect and promote American (and other great power) national interests

“… realists believe that international institutions are shaped and limited by the states that found and sustain them and have little independent effect”

Kenneth Waltz

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as an Institution-Builder

  • International institutions are also used to justifythe use of force by and for the United States
  • The reason (again) is clear: international justification or legitimation of military force lowers the costs of intervention

Examples

US intervention against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait

US invasion of Iraq following the “failure” of sanctions

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as an Institution-Builder

  • In both cases, the United States attempted to use the Security Council of the United Nations to sanction military force
    • In Gulf War I, Security Council sanctioned force and costs to US were minimal, while key objective was achieved
    • In Gulf War II, Security Council did not sanction use of force; predictably, however, the US ignored the SC when its decision contradicted American will and interests: the United States accused the UN of being “irrelevant”
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?

George W. Bush, speech to the United Nations

September 12, 2002

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Recap: (Realist) system-level analysis …

  • cannot explain every micro-level decision the United States makes with regard to foreign policy, but it can explain the underlying rationale and motivation of US foreign policy as a whole
  • “predicts” that the United States will remain focused on protecting and deepening the status quo
  • “predicts” a double-standard in US foreign policy
  • tells us that international institutions, regimes, organizations are created and used as tools to further American interests
  • underscores the continuing importance of national self-interest, but allows us to understand that how and why great power behavior sometimes appears altruistic
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Marxism and System-Level Analysis

“States behave the way they do because of the position they occupy in the international system”

Would a Marxist agree with this statement?

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Marxism and System-Level Analysis

  • Marxists also talk in terms of great powers and smaller powers, but they use different terminology and adopt a different perspective

To Marxists, states are the _______________ of global ___________________ (the dominant capitalists of today)

The “great powers” are not states per se, but instead are focal points in which great wealth is located; these focal points of wealth form a global _________ or center

agents

economic elite

core

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Marxism and System-Level Analysis

Unlike realists, Marxists draw the line between the core and the periphery: those in the core are “great powers”

CORE

periphery

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Marxism and System-Level Analysis

  • Determining which states belong to the core and which belong to the periphery is generally straightforward: Core “countries” are distinguished by a high concentration of wealth (especially surplus capital), control of technology and manufacturing know-how, dominance of keymarkets, and a concentration of high value-added employment

United StatesJapanGreat BritainFranceItalyGermanyCanada(A few others)

HaitiJamaicaGhanaBangladeshPhilippinesCubaPakistan

El SalvadorMoroccoZimbabweNepalKyrgyzstanIndonesiaEgypt(Many others)

CORE

Any problems with this list?

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

Marxism and System-Level Analysis

  • An Aside
    • Division of the world into only two “camps,” the core and the periphery, may be too simple; other Marxists (especially in World Systems Theory), argue that there should be a third division, the semiperiphery

The semiperiphery is equivalent to the “middle power” category, and would include such places as …

South Africa

South Korea

Israel

China

Russia

Ireland

Argentina

Mexico

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The Importance of Being (a Core Power)

  • Core power behave a lot like great powers, except that there it is not national self-interests that determine foreign policies; rather it is the self-interests of the _________________________.
  • Core elites also have a deep interest in maintaining the status quo of the system as a whole; thus, their interests are wide-ranging and generally extend well beyond immediate domestic economic concerns: Core powers will use force to protect their economic interests anywhere in the world
  • Core powers attained their positions through the largely unrestrained exploitation of the world’s resources, the environment, and of whole societies; they want to continue these practices while denying them to others
  • Core powers employ grand strategies to identify, manage, and deal with threats to global capitalism, both potential and explicit

economic elite

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • As the core power, the United States clearly fits the Marxist model of behavior …

The history of US foreign policy is a history of the protection of the interests of the economic elites that dominate the country. Some examples …

Chile: the overthrow of a democratic government to protect the interests of ITT

Iran: the overthrow of democratically elected government (1952) to protect the interest of big oil

Guatemala: the overthrow of a democratically elected government (1954) to protect American economic interests of United Fruit Company (again in 1967)

Iraq: two wars (and numerous interventions) to protect US oil interests

Vietnam: to protect the establishment expansion of capitalism in Asia

Cold War against the Soviet Union: to prevent the spread of non-capitalist economies

For a more complete list, click here

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • As the core power, the United States clearly fits the Marxist model of behavior …

Secrets of the CIA: Iran

Secrets of the CIA: Chile

For more videos, type in “Secrets of the CIA” in YouTube: includes segments on Indonesia, Laos, Bolivia, Cambodia, Iraq, Congo, Cuba, Nazi Germany, Nicaragua, among others

falling dominoes speech dwight eisenhower april 7 1954 the logic of u s foreign policy
“Falling Dominoes” Speech, Dwight Eisenhower, April 7, 1954 • The Logic of U.S. Foreign Policy

Q. Robert Richards, Copley Press: Mr. President, would you mind commenting on the strategic importance of Indochina to the free world? I think there has been, across the country, some lack of understanding on just what it means to us.

A: You have, of course, both the specific and the general when you talk about such things. First of all, you have the specific value of a locality in its production of materials that the world needs. Then you have the possibility that many human beings pass under a dictatorship that is inimical to the free world.

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences (…)

falling dominoes speech dwight eisenhower the logic of u s foreign policy
“Falling Dominoes” Speech, Dwight EisenhowerThe Logic of U.S. Foreign Policy

[CON’T] Now, with respect to the first one, two of the items from this particular area that the world uses are tin and tungsten. They are very important. …. Then with respect to more people passing under this domination, Asia, after all, has already lost some 450 million of its peoples to the Communist dictatorship, and we simply can\'t afford greater losses.

But when we come to the possible sequence of events, the loss of Indochina, of Burma, of Thailand, of the Peninsula, and Indonesia following, now you begin to talk about areas that not only multiply the disadvantages that you would suffer through loss of materials, sources of materials, but now you are talking really about millions and millions and millions of people.

Finally, the geographical position achieved thereby does many things. It turns the so-called island defensive chain of Japan, Formosa, of the Philippines and to the southward; it moves in to threaten Australia and New Zealand. It takes away, in its economic aspects, that region that Japan must have as a trading area or Japan, in turn, will have only one place in the world to go -- that is, toward the Communist areas in order to live.

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • As the core power, the United States clearly fits the Marxist model of behavior …

In broad terms, American foreign policy has been and is premised on creating global institutional framework designed to protect trade and investment, to provide international financial stability, and to promote “free markets”

In Sum: Global institutional framework designed to …

“Make the world safe for capitalism”

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • An example:Consider the role and function of the World Trade Organization (WTO); the Marxist view is expressed clearly in the video, “The Truth Behind the WTO” …
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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • The U.S.-Saudi Relationship

Provides a concrete example of how elites’ economic interest can outweigh American “national interest”

Reflects a Patron-Client relationship that serves the interests of elites both in Saudi Arabia and in the United States; the interests of the large majority of citizens in both countries, however, is not necessarily promoted in such relationships

Roosevelt meeting with the Saudi King, 1945

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign PolicySystem-Level Analysis

The United States as the Core Power

  • The U.S.-Saudi Relationship: Background Video

President Roosevelt Meets Middle East Leaders [Etc.] 1945 • From the National Archives and Records Administration

Available on YouTube

Click here to view video online

Note: Due to the size of the video, it will not be available on the my online notes page

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