Economic forces are in fact political forces. Economics can be treated neither as a minor accessory of history, nor as an independent science in the light of which history can be interpreted. . . . The science of economics presupposes a given political order, and cannot be profitably studied in isolation from politics.
-- E. H. Carr, 1939
This book examines, explains, and critiques the processes by which the U.S. government formulates and implements a series of measures collectively known as international economic policy. Before turning to these tasks, it is imperative to first explain fully and precisely what is being examined and why its unique nature creates a unique policymaking process. The implicit thesis is that international economic policy should be thought of as existing in a third dimension, not simply as a subset of either foreign policy or domestic economic policy. It is a separate, distinguishable policy that transcends its component policy sectors. The balancing act necessary to reconcile the frequently conflicting priorities of its internal and external elements is what gives international economic policy its substantive importance and unique character. This complex reconciliation act also presents decision-makers with unique procedural challenges.
"International economic policy" is a term infused with value judgment and one that is often misinterpreted. I have used the term throughout this book in lieu of the more commonly used phrase "foreign economic policy." I strongly believe that the former is the preferable term because in today's world, policymaking in this area must take account of too many questions of domestic economic and political policy to be considered "foreign." It increasingly is