Confronting Conflict: Domestic Factors and U.S. Policymaking in the Third World

Confronting Conflict: Domestic Factors and U.S. Policymaking in the Third World

Confronting Conflict: Domestic Factors and U.S. Policymaking in the Third World

Confronting Conflict: Domestic Factors and U.S. Policymaking in the Third World

Synopsis

This study analyzes U.S. foreign policymaking in terms of state power and domestic factors. Ollapally explores U.S. policies in Third World conflicts during the 1960s, during the 1970s, and up to the present--during which time the United States has gone from a strong to a weak state. She concludes that domestic factors explain much of the reactions to the Soviet threat in the Third World during these periods. This beautifully written text with clearly presented arguments can be read at various levels and is intended for students and teachers dealing with the foreign policymaking process.

Excerpt

In this chapter, I focus on the characteristics of the American domestic foreign policy-making structure that emerged in the aftermath of World War II and persisted into the late 1960s. I do this by distinguishing its institutional and coalitional components and discussing the main features of these components. in the discussion of institutions, the foreign policy bureaucracy underlying the organization of the security apparatus and the balance of executive-congressional relations is emphasized. I then turn to the formation of the cold war internationalist coalition that proved so durable. the findings in this chapter show how the components of the domestic structure that came into existence resembled a strong state such that decisionmaking on competition with the Soviets in future Third World conflicts could be hypothesized to be the result of state-directed policy. One of the contributing factors to state primacy was the emergence of what may be called "informal barriers to entry," that is, the tacit hands-off policy adopted by Congress toward national security issues as well as the institutional culture that militated against competing worldviews. On the latter point, the impact of McCarthyism is important. Once in place, the overall organization of decisionmaking gave rise to a simplified type of policy process that was heavily skewed toward the state.

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