In Foreign Policy, Women's Influence Grows

By Charlotte Grimes Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 2, 1994 | Go to article overview

In Foreign Policy, Women's Influence Grows


Charlotte Grimes Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


"They're not . . . going to understand throw-weights or what is happening in Afghanistan or what is happening in human rights." Donald Regan, White House chief of staff, on women's attention to the Reagan-Gorbachev summit, 1985.

EIGHT YEARS AFTER Donald Regan's insult, women may be coming into their own in shaping the foreign policy of a world where throw-weights matter less than consensus-building.

The Cold War is over. Superpower confrontation and containment - the 50-year-old language of foreign policy - are archaic. Consensus and cooperation are the new vocabulary. Rather than a single archenemy, the U.S. looks out at a fragmented globe fertile with seeds of instability:

Starvation and war in Somalia. Ethnic hatred and war in Bosnia. Racial tensions and violence in South Africa. Hardship and near-coups in Russia.

In that chaotic setting, the old answers to foreign policy dilemmas seem less applicable.

"Women are uniquely positioned to ask new questions," said Ruth Adams, creator of the MacArthur Foundation's international programs on peace and national security.

"Women are a source of that new direction we're looking for in terms of foreign policy," said U.S. Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., chairwoman of the Congressional Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus.

But some of the women who help shape President Bill Clinton's foreign policy are not so sure there's a gender perspective to foreign affairs. They're quick to stress that differences between them and their male colleagues are more a matter of style than substance.

"I would challenge the premise," said Nancy Soderberg, staff director of the National Security Council and one of the administration's senior foreign policy advisors. As women move into the power positions long held by men, she added: "You'll find they'll be equally aggressive and not so patient. I think women will act very similarly."

The notion that women may be coming into their own in foreign policy is gaining currency in Washington, fueled partly by a broader definition of foreign policy itself. Cold War Mentality

Traditional foreign policy, crystallized in the Cold War by the awesome weaponry of the nuclear age, tended to look at the world in military terms: Throw-weights, a calculation of a missile's killing power. Containment, from George Kennan's classic one-word summary of America's aim toward communism. Force models, the estimates of other countries' military might.

"The power, the pecking order, has been traditionally nuclear weapons," said Charles William Maynes, editor of Foreign Policy magazine. The "hardware" people, as Maynes called them, were at the top of the pecking order. Women were a rarity. Few had military experience. And until 1971, State Department regulations kicked them out of the foreign service when they married.

The exceptions were notable: Jeanne Kirkpatrick, ambassador to the United Nations and close adviser to President Ronald Reagan. Rozanne Ridgway, one of the State Department's highest ranking women in both the Reagan and Carter administrations. Condoleeza Rice, top Soviet expert in the Reagan administration.

Clinton promised to bring more women into policy-making roles, and women do seem somewhat more visible. Like Reagan, Clinton has named a woman, Madeleine K. Albright, as his U.N. ambassador. Among the top three posts of his National Security Council, one is held by a woman, Soderberg. A former foreign policy aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Soderberg is often listed among the core group of Clinton's advisers.

At the State Department, Clinton has put women into four senior posts that had been held by men in the Reagan and Bush administrations, giving him a more diverse group of assistant secretaries.

It's unclear how better visibility for women translates into more of a policy-making role as the foreign policy issues change. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Foreign Policy, Women's Influence Grows
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.