|the highest executive and congressional officials. (Vice versa, of course, politicians coming to Washington are often more honest and objective than they were in earlier careers in state politics, because the cumulative impact of the Washington bureaucracy. the national press, and the Washington tradition pushes them toward a greater degree of honesty and integrity). During the Harding administration, notably, there were some occasions when top executives connived at or benefited from crudely dishonest deals. There have been a few such instances since; and no doubt any given organization or Washington representative might be dealing with men who similarly violate the Washinton tradition in the future. But in dealing with such executives or congressmen, the warnings given in this whole chapter apply. And, in particular (and this is very different from the situation in many state governments) an organization which engages in bribery and corruption of a Washington official of any prominence may well be handicapping itself for years to come; for, in the Washington situation, such bribes and corruption may well be exposed, and, if they are, all those who deal with the bribing organization in the future may well lean over backwards to avoid any suspicion of favoritism towards it.|
Of course, in principle, it is possible that the national government as a whole might become genuinely corrupt and come to resemble highway departments, for instance, in such states as Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Indiana, not long ago. The odds against such a development appear to me, however, to be very great; the whole thrust of our times towards bureaucratic accountability and efficiency and professionalism seems to be moving us, as a nation, in the opposite direction. Indeed, a change in this direction in our national government would be as much of a revolution as the New Deal in its time or the Jacksonian introduction of the spoils system in the earlier days of the republic. Not only this book. but much of what is now written about government in Washington, would become outdated should this direction alter.
G. William Domhoff. How the power elite make foreign policy.1
This essay will attempt to show that American foreign policy is initiated, planned, and carried out by members and organizations of a power elite that is rooted in and serves the interests of an upper class of rich businessmen and their descendants. It will be claimed that none of the factors often of importance in domestic issues--Congress, labor, public opinion--has anything but an occasional and minor effect on foreign policy. If there is one issue-area truly and solely the domain of the power elite, it is foreign policy. Given the great importance of foreign policy in determining the framework within which all types of policy-making take place, power elite dominance of this single issue-area gives them a great influence on all aspects of the political process.
The making of foreign policy takes place within an environment or setting: the international community of nations, American public opinion, mass media, political interest groups, agencies of the executive branch and committees of Congress. However, it is possible to suggest that public opinion is rarely felt and that Congress is usually by-passed. Moreover, it is possible to be much more concrete in spelling out the specific mechanisms within which the decision-makers function. In general, the most important institutions in foreign policy decision-making are large corporations and banks, closely intertwined charitable foundations, two or three discussion and research associations financed by these corporations and foundations, and the National Security Council, State Department, Defense Department, and specially appointed committees of the federal government. Admittedly, this is only the most important core, for there are several other private and university-affiliated research and opinion- molding organizations, as well as several other agencies of the federal government.