Introduction and Overview
Patrick J. DeSouza
On October 31, 1997, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) held a panel discussion among former National Security Council (NSC) advisors to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the NSC. During the event, Ambassador Winston Lord, former CFR President and Assistant Secretary of State for the Far East during President Clinton's first term, raised two central and related policymaking problems with the panel: How would the NSC, in coordinating the work of various governmental agencies for the president, deal with the continued rise of economic issues as integral to United States security? Also, what would be the agenda for U.S. foreign policy as the concept of security continued to evolve over the next generation?
The NSC was founded under the National Security Act of July 26, 1947, to coordinate foreign and defense policies and to reconcile diplomatic and military commitments. During the height of the Cold War, economic strategy was linked to national security primarily in negative terms--to deny the Soviet Union opportunities for indirectly subsidizing its military effort, including through the use of sanctions. The Reagan Administration's National Security Decision Directive 75 is one example of this approach; it built on the premise that adversaries needed to be contained.