Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy

Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy

Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy

Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy


The first edition of Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy is one of the most successful Brookings titles of all time. Government agencies, departments, and individuals all have certain interests to preserve and promote. Those priorities, and the conflicts they sometimes spark, heavily influence the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. A decision that looks like an orchestrated attempt to influence another country may in fact represent a shaky compromise between rival elements within the U. S. government. The authors provide numerous examples of bureaucratic maneuvering and reveal how they have influenced our international relations.


A natural assumption is that governments--including that of the United States--tailor their national security decisions to what is happening abroad or what they hope to achieve abroad. the truth is apparently more complicated. the decisions and actions of governments result from the interplay among executive and legislative organizations, public and private interests, and, of course, personalities. This interplay becomes a determinant of foreign policy no less than events abroad or at home.

It has become increasingly clear, therefore, that policy prescriptions must take account of the process from which government policy emerges. This book is a study of that decision process within the U.S. government, particularly as it relates to national security affairs.

The book is arranged in three major parts. the first identifies the participants in national security decisions and seeks to explain the interests they represent. the second describes the manner in which policy positions are advanced and defended. the third relates policy decisions to their implementation, a process that has often been underemphasized in decision-making studies. in the final chapter, the author offers his views of the relevance of this type of analysis to policy making.

Morton H. Halperin came to Brookings directly from the environment he describes in this book. From 1966 to 1969 he was deputy assistant secretary for political-military planning and arms control in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. in January 1969, he joined the National Security Council as a senior staff member for planning. During the six years before he entered government service, Mr. Halperin was an assistant professor of government at Harvard University and a research associate at the Harvard Center for International Affairs. He has been a Brookings senior fellow since late 1969.

The Institution wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance of the . . .

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