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The Evolution of U.S. Policy. Foreign Policy. “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” - Winston Churchill (describing Soviet foreign policy). Overview. Definitions Foreign Policy 1776 - 1950 Isolationism thru Containment Deterrent Strategies 1950-89

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foreign policy

Foreign Policy

“a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”

- Winston Churchill (describing Soviet foreign policy)

  • Definitions
  • Foreign Policy 1776 - 1950
    • Isolationism thru Containment
  • Deterrent Strategies 1950-89
    • Massive Retaliation thru Contemporary Containment
  • Foreign Policy (1989 - ?)
    • Post Containment Era
  • Pre-emptive Strike
samples of behavior
Samples of Behavior
  • ID the main ideas of our six foreign policies from 1776 to the present
  • ID the main ideas of each of our deterrent policies
us foreign policy
US Foreign Policy

The goals and guidelines that shape the

conduct of American relations with

other countries.

us national security policy
US National Security Policy

Guidelines for the protection of the nation’s people and territories against physical assault, and protection of vital economic and political interests, the loss of which could threaten fundamental values and the vitality of the nation.






foreign policies
  • Isolationism
  • Imperialism
  • Pacifism
  • UN Cooperation
  • Containment
    • Deterrent Strategies
  • Post-Containment Era
isolationism 1796
  • New nation
    • Still in turmoil internally
  • Physical separation
    • No phones, no lights, no motorcars...
  • Neutrality & Non-Entanglement
    • Europe in violent times
    • Very dependent on European trade


imperialism 1893
  • Social Darwinism (by Europe)
    • Colonialism
    • US “expanded overseas”
      • Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico
  • Panama Canal
  • Monroe Doctrine & Roosevelt Corollary
    • “Moral right & obligation to intervene in Latin America” to protect/restore American interests
      • i.e. Haiti (1916/1994), Bay of Pigs (1961), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989)


1914 1918
  • World War I
  • 10 million men lost their lives!
  • “War to end all wars”
pacifism post wwi
  • US emerged as world’s most respected country
  • Treaty of Versailles
    • Sought to punish Germany
  • League of Nations
  • Neutrality acts / Peace societies
  • US cut many ties to Europe
setting the stage for wwii
Setting the stage for WWII.....
  • Harsh reparations on Germany
  • Great Depression
  • Lack of treaty enforcement
    • Lack of political will
un cooperation post wwii
  • Had full political backing of US and USSR
  • Stressed “open communication” among nations

But, during this same period…...

communist expansion
Communist Expansion
  • Soviet Union
    • Poland, Baltics, Eastern European bloc
    • Instigated communist rebellions elsewhere
  • China falls to Communism
    • Serious blow to US relations
communist expansion1
Communist Expansion
  • Reasons for expansion
    • Communist doctrine
      • “Capitalist pigs”
    • World War II
    • China’s government had poor admin control, corruption
“Let every nation know… that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty”

- President J. F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, 1961

  • US had to stop Soviet expansion
    • Marshall Plan (1947)
    • Berlin Airlift (1948)
    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949)
  • Significantly rebuilt Europe
    • Countries able to resist communist expansion
  • Korea
    • Third World nation stalemated us!
    • Altered US foreign policy…….


massive retaliation
Massive Retaliation
  • Focus on technological and strategic superiority
  • Use nuclear weapons “at a time & place of our choosing”
  • Launch of Sputnik in 1957
    • America shocked
    • America’s age of innocence was over
    • America changed its deterrent policy once again...
graduated response
Graduated Response
  • Soviet military capabilities (vs population)
  • Expanded alliances in Pacific region
    • ANZUS Pact (1951)
    • Japan (1954)
  • Tactical nuclear weapons
    • Countered being outnumbered conventionally
    • Main reason USSR kept in check?
  • Defend SE Asia from communism

Flexible Response

  • Restructure conventional forces
    • Green Berets and Dual Basing
  • Reconstruct airlift and sealift
  • Mutual Assured Destruction
    • No one wins...
“…the United States will participate in the defense and development of allies and friends, but…America cannot -and will not- conceive all plans, design all programs, execute all the decisions and undertake all the defense of the free nations of the world”

- President Richard Nixon

Feb 18, 1970

realistic deterrence nixon doctrine
Realistic Deterrence/Nixon Doctrine
  • Essential Equivalence basic nuclear strategy
    • Soviet nukes bigger, outnumbered ours, but ours more accurate
  • Total Force concept to policy
    • Active duty, National Guard, Reserves
  • Security Assistance Program
      • Trained nations to fight, loans, foreign aid
contemporary containment reagan doctrine 1981
Contemporary Containment/ Reagan Doctrine (1981)
  • More outspoken about dislike of communism and USSR
    • “Evil Empire”
  • Military rebuilt
    • Increased pay raises
    • More funding for new weapon systems
  • Security Assistance Programs increased
  • Allies shouldered more responsibility for own defense
world started to change in 1989
World started to change in 1989…
  • Warsaw Pact crumbling
  • Berlin Wall coming down
  • Countries asserting independence from USSR…….


post containment era a strategy of engagement
Post Containment Era / A Strategy of Engagement
  • To enhance America’s security
  • To bolster America’s economic prosperity
  • To promote democracy and human rights abroad *

* National Security Strategy for a New Century Dec 1999


“At this moment in history, the U.S. is called upon to lead-to marshal the forces of freedom and progress;…to reinforce our democratic ideas and values;…to enhance American security and global peace. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to…build a better and safer world.”

President William J. Clinton December 1999



Where are we headed in the 21st century?

  • President Bush’s “Pre-emptive Strike Doctrine”
    • Signals a new focus by the US on security
  • “Our Nation’s cause has always been larger than our Nation’s defense. We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace—a peace that favors liberty. We will defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent.”
  • President Bush
  • West Point, New York
  • June 1, 2002
  • Definitions

- Foreign Policy

- National Security

  • Foreign Policies
  • Deterrent Strategies
summary foreign policies
Summary (Foreign Policies)
  • Isolationism
    • Neutrality & Non-Entanglement
  • Imperialism
    • Expansion overseas (west CONUS, Pacific, Caribbean)
  • Pacifism
    • Disarmament by example; avoid conflict
  • UN Cooperation
    • Countries working together, better comm; avoid future wars
  • Containment
    • Marshall plan; foreign aid for defeated foes
  • Post-Containment
    • Security; economy; democracy; human rights
summary deterrent strategies
Summary (Deterrent Strategies)
  • Massive Retaliation
    • attention on nuclear arsenal; total destruction
  • Graduated Response
    • massive attack not credible; concentrate on tactical nukes
  • Flexible Response
    • concentrate on conventional forces; airlift/sealift capabilities
  • Realistic Deterrence
    • startedSecurity Assistance Programs; weapons more accurate; drawdowns
  • Contemporary Containment
    • increased defense spending; emphasized Security Assistance Program to assist countries in resisting communism
  • Pre-emptive Strike