Hi, Welcome to Module One,
American foreign policy Problems and Contexts.
This week we want to examine the basic problems in contexts of US foreign policy. This will be an important foundation moving forward. So, take note of some basic questions concerns,
1. How do we define US foreign policy?
2. Is there even an objective way to do this too?
3. Do We make a list of friends and enemies and go from there with the list be refined or qualify based on US capabilities, geopolitical facts?
4. Or are we committed to certain allies and policy is independent of costs, whether measured in financial material?
For human terms,
5. How much of US foreign policy is the result of pragmatic compromise between ideals and interests are differently between ideals and real or perceived necessity?
6. Is there a kind of American exceptionalism or a providential hand allowing American policymakers to avoid the kinds of moral trade offs that have plagued all great powers in history?
7. Or do we face the same hard choices that all past empires, monarchies, or regional hegemon us have had to make, in short, for Americans to get what they think they want?
Typically, through their representatives. They first must make choices, calculate interests, and assess costs. Before deciding matters of policy. You’ll encounter the language of hard and soft power. It’s become standard fair to compare these as broad categories of policy instruments. Hard power is the traditional use of all national assets and capabilities, military and economic, in the service of maintaining regime power and survival. If not, continuity of government in a crisis.
Soft power is the use of non-coercive policy tools of persuasion, whether in the form of diplomacy, foreign aid, humanitarian assistance, cross-cultural exchanges, access to U.S educational institutions and opportunities.
Exemplary ideals like democracy or religious liberty, or simply other non-coercive means of attracting allies rather than enemies?
The questions to begin asking here are critical.
1. Does soft power require a bedrock of hard power to make it an attractive policy instrument?
2. does hard power use, Co, use of coercive means tend to nullify the possibility or effectiveness of self-power appeal?
You will decide this even if some time along down the road. To talk about hard and soft power is to speak of ways to achieve some broader vision of grand strategy. Many of you have heard from biblical verse that without vision, the people perish. This is likely true of many things in life, including foreign policy. While it’s critical to have hard and soft power capabilities, including an educated population. Without prioritizing the use of these assets, they can be wasted if not lost altogether in a failed policy. Not surprisingly, because so many assumptions are, the decisions must be made in the process of envisioning US grand strategy.
It’s no surprise to say that policy makers often debate and disagree with one another and deciding how and where to both maintain and position us strategic assets and capabilities. While no single course can resolve such issues. A good place to begin is with the eminent historian John Lewis Gaddis is work on grand strategy. One practical mirror into attempts at broader strategic policy has come to us via presidential foreign policy doctrines. Pay attention to these in terms of ideals. He’s in practices since they are statements signaling American friends and enemies of qi, qi US strategic priorities and policy red lines. As with most US foreign policy in history, whether they work as intended or not is arguable. But there is seldom any question of what the intent is in terms of both principle in practice.
In these precedential policy statement, students who reflect on the distinction between rhetoric and reality through the prism of at least three critical questions.
1. Is the policy intellectually coherent?
2. How much of it was influenced by domestic politics rather than any grand strategic vision?
3. . And has it been, or is it tailored to consistency of application?
This week is also an important opportunity to examine at least key theory, three key theories of international relations. In particular, students will want to understand realism, neoliberalism, and constructivism. Sir, theories pay close attention to rhetoric and reality here as well. Since IR theory is a very contentious field of study, not only in the way that experts define and qualify the terms, but whether any of these matters to application of the theory to the real-world of policymaking. Consider a quote from a respected source and IR theory. Quote. There are a great many different theories and IRR. They can be classified in a number of ways. What we call a main theoretical tradition is not an objective entity. If you put four IR theorists in a room, easily get 10 different ways of organizing theory. And there will also be disagreement about which theories are relevant in the first place. End quote. That’s from Jackson and Sorenson introduction to international relations, theories, and approaches.
Close, closely related to theory debates is the question of how best to characterize the behavioral pattern of the international system or the structural constants of system behavior. A good course on international relations would help here. But for now, we can only offer three broad features of system behavior. Namely,
is it decentralized, mainly self-help in nature, and stratified in power and capabilities?
Students will want to begin asking why realism has traditionally been the default theory most used to explain system behavior. And whether the system features mentioned can also be accounted for by the other two theories, if not others. Many believe that despite its popular default mode, realism is inadequate to explain evolutionary trends of system behavior. Like it’s greater diffusion of power, the proliferation of issues. Even great powers cannot control without empowering other system actors. The proliferation of international actors beyond the traditional focus of states. And finally, the fact of regional diversity. A good course on global governance will help elaborate on all of these evolutionary trends. But for now, pay attention to how and whether these trends will challenge of realism as the default theory explaining the international system. Most believe US foreign policy will express its aspirations and interests on a power spectrum somewhere between American hegemony at one end and globalization on the other. As always, you will find your way here as you invest more time and experience. These issues. Finally, note the over the horizon issues in each chapter Have a great week.