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Political action, including that taken in implementing foreign policy, occurs in a thoroughly conditioned world. Politicians, confronted as they are by conflicting goals and tangible daily domestic pressures inside or outside their own countries, are perpetually tempted to make decisions  of using force abroad. This response is especially common in the confusing dimensions of foreign policy.

There is much in the literature on foreign policy decision making to suggest that domestic political factors affect decisions to use force. A powerful reminder and example of the importance of the influence of domestic politics comes from President Kennedy and his advisers during the Cuban Missile crisis. As Mintz (1993:605) states, ‘‘War and peace decisions are rooted not only in international politics, but also in considerations of domestic politics’’. Typically, decisions to use force consist of a combination of factors:

(1) decision makers must calculate the domestic political consequences of using force abroad, and (2) leaders must factor in military/strategic considerations such as relative military capabilities, projected casualties,geography, etc. (Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman, 1990, 1992). A crucial intervening variable here, though, is the fact that most of the information received by the decision maker, the presidents problem-solving in this case, with respect to these issues comes from advisers. A problem-solving perspective implies consideration of goals, policy alternatives, and a feedback or monitoring system to estimate progress toward achievement of goals.

Foreign policy decision making is one of the most popular subfields of international relations in many reasons. The fact is that the foreign policy decision-makers themselves are in many cases fascinating individuals certainly contributes to the attraction. A recurring question in the study of decision-making has to do with the locus of decision in foreign policy.

Research focusing on the individual decisionmaker is quite compatible with analysis of the organizational environment in which individual decision-makers function. Paul Anderson advises us that “understanding the actions of political institutions requires an understanding of social and institutional dynamics as well as the cognitive processes of individual decision makers” (1987, p. 344).

He distinguishes between a “substantiver egime” and a “procedurarl egime.” The former encompasses the basic beliefs and core values of those in a position to determine foreign policy and corresponds to the “definition of the situation,” or the sort of cognitive resources and biases decision-makers bring to the process. These levels of analysis are not contending but, in fact, complementary elements of the research in Foreign Policy Decision-Making (FPDM).

The institutional or organizational context of a decision is an important filter in decision-making. Decision-makers deal with an interesting paradox in foreign policy:

they are hampered by too little information and too much information.

Information is never Perfect with regard to the motives or intentions of other actors, and therefore decision-makers are forced to draw inferences from available information.

Decision-makers do not operate in isolation. They rely on organizations and institutionalized procedures in the task of formulating, choosing, and implementing policy options. Even powerful individuals such as the U.S. president rely on an extensive network of organizations and, in fact, may be constrained in what he or she can accomplish if organizations choose to thwart the decision.

Reflecting on his presidential legacy in a long interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick, Obama said, “at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”  The American political system is designed to make presidents seem very important. They pick their teams, their goals, their fights—and if they do these things skillfully enough, we say they’ve made history.

This is what  U.S president Barack Obama seems to mean by getting his “paragraph right.”

The problems presidents face on taking office are not merely a set of constraints on what they do. Big problems create big opportunities; they shape the way presidents use their power, the way they understand themselves and their ultimate aspirations.

Yet most of the choices that presidents make are defined by circumstance. Some things they might like to do are impossible; many successes fall into their laps; some setbacks are not their fault. Our leaders can pick many things, but not their moment in history.

The Carter Doctrine was a policy proclaimed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980, which stated that the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf. Three Cold War United States presidential doctrines—the Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon doctrines—played roles in the Carter Doctrine’s formulation.

During his campaign, Jimmy Carter’s aides claimed he would govern in a different way, specifically, that he would not appoint Washington insiders to top foreign policy positions.

Carter had campaigned on a promise to eliminate the trappings of the “Imperial Presidency,”

Imperial Presidency is a term used to describe the modern presidency of the United States. It became popular in the 1960s and served as the title of a 1973 volume by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote “The Imperial Presidency out of two concerns; first that the US Presidency was out of control and second that the Presidency had exceeded the constitutional limits”.

It was based on a number of observations. As a result of Pearl Harbor, but also in reaction to President Roosevelt’s highly personalized management of policy during World War II, Congress established a formal national security structure that was codified in the National Security Act of 1947.

When looking at the disparate pieces of information available to different elements of the United States government prior to December 7, 1941, President Truman was reported to have concluded,

“If we’d all had that information in one agency, by God, I believe we could have foreseen what was going to happen in Pearl Harbor.”

To put this in a current context, Truman’s reaction and goals were not unlike those raised by The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission).

Congress believed that if formal interagency consultative structures were established, intelligence and policy would be better coordinated, and experienced voices would be present to advise the President on important decisions. President Harry S Truman supported supported Congress’s desire to establish a permanent, centrally managed intelligence community and a unified Department of Defense.

But Congress also wanted an apparatus in the Executive Branch to ensure integration and coordination of policies across departments and agencies, and to advise the president on national security interests.

President Truman agreed with the intelligence and defense aspects of the legislation, and agreed to the need for an established advisory group, but was resistant to the idea of creating any other organization with decision-making authority or operational responsibilities within the Executive Branch.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, President Truman suddenly found the NSC’s function of bringing together senior policymakers to be useful for his own decision-making process. He began convening regular meetings to develop, discuss, and coordinate policy related to the war.

The NSC and its staff grew in importance, size, and responsibilities with the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Eisenhower’s experience with a military staff system led him to establish an elaborate interagency structure centered on a Planning Board to coordinate policy development, and an Operations Coordinating Board for monitoring the implementation of policies. Eisenhower also created, in 1953, the post of Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, now commonly called the National Security Advisor.

Centralized control of the interagency national security process, and domination of the development and execution of foreign policy by the White House staff reached its zenith under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

President Nixon wanted to be certain that the White House fully controlled foreign policy. Henry Kissinger’s expanded NSC staff (80 professionals) concentrated on acquiring analytical information from the departments and then refining it for the National Security Advisor. Under Reagan administration the NSC staff also emerged as an independent actor, not only in formulating policy, but also in implementation.

Once elected, however, Carter recognized that he needed experts around him to conduct his foreign policy. He named Columbia University professor Zbigniew Brzezinski as his national security adviser and former Defense Department official and Johnson administration diplomatic troubleshooter Cyrus Vance as secretary of state.

President Carter came into office wanting more diversity in the policy options coming to the president and greater balance in the contributions of department principals to ensure that he was presented with the best policy options available from across his national security system.

  • The Carter Doctrine was a response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and was intended to deter the Soviet Union—the United States’ Cold War adversary—from seeking hegemony in the Gulf.The U.S. Department of State works to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through

The following key sentence, which was written by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Adviser, concludes the section:

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

Brzezinski modeled the wording on the Truman Doctrine, and insisted that the sentence be included in the speech “to make it very clear that the Soviets should stay away from the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf region was first proclaimed to be of national interest to the United States during World War II.

Petroleum is of central importance to modern armies, and the United States—as the world’s leading oil producer at that time—supplied most of the oil for the Allied armies. Many American strategists were concerned that the war would dangerously reduce the U.S. oil supply, and so they sought to establish good relations with Saudi Arabia, a kingdom with large oil reserves.

On February 16, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States.”

On February 14, 1945, while returning from the Yalta Conference, Roosevelt met with Saudi Arabia’s King Ibn Saud on the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal, the first time a U.S. president had visited the Persian Gulf region. (During Operation Desert Shield in 1990, U.S. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney cited this landmark meeting between Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud as one of the justifications for sending troops to protect Saudi Arabia’s border.

The Truman Doctrine, which stated that the United States would send military aid to countries which were threatened by Soviet communism, was used to strengthen the security of Iran and Saudi Arabia. In October 1950, President Harry Truman wrote to King Ibn Saud that

“the United States is interested in the preservation of the independence and territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia. No threat to your Kingdom could occur which would not be a matter of immediate concern to the United States”

The Eisenhower Doctrine in turn called for U.S. troops to be sent to the Middle East to defend U.S. allies against their Soviet-backed adversaries. Finally, the Nixon Doctrine’s application provided military aid to Iran and Saudi Arabia so that these U.S. allies could ensure peace and stability in the region. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan prompted the restatement of U.S. interests in the region in the form of the Carter Doctrine.

Because the United States did not have significant military capabilities in the Persian Gulf region at the time the Carter Doctrine was proclaimed, the doctrine was criticized for not being backed by sufficient force.

The Carter administration began to build up the Rapid Deployment Force (which would eventually become CENTCOM). In the interim, the administration expanded the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, extended the policy in October 1981 with what is sometimes called the “Reagan Corollary to the Carter Doctrine”, which proclaimed that the United States would intervene to protect Saudi Arabia, whose security was threatened after the Iran–Iraq War’s outbreak. Thus, while the Carter Doctrine warned away outside forces from the region, the Reagan Corollary pledged to secure internal stability.

According to diplomat Howard Teicher, “with the enunciation of the Reagan Corollary, the policy ground work was laid for Operation Desert Storm”operations leading to the build up of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia.

The Persian Gulf region continued to be regarded as an area of vital importance to the United States during the Cold War.

The greatest foreign policy success

While Jimmy Carter’s presidency may have only been one term, his legacy is apparent. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Carter’s legacy is the Camp David Accords. Carter worked together with then-president of Egypt Anwar Sadat to create the accords which led to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, the only treaty of its kind between Israel and any Islamic nation of the Middle East.

After the Yom Kippur War of 1973 between Israel and its Arab enemies, Egypt and Syria, the Israelis had gradually disengaged their forces and moved a distance back in the Sinai Peninsula. They were still occupying Egyptian territory, however, and there was no peace between these adversaries.

In the fall of 1978, Carter invited Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat to sit down with Carter at Camp David, a rural presidential retreat outside Washington.

Between September 5 and September 17, 1978, Carter shuttled between Israeli and Egyptian delegations, hammering out the terms of peace. Consequently, Begin and Sadat reached a historic agreement: Israel would withdraw from the entire Sinai Peninsula; the U.S. would establish monitoring posts to ensure that neither side attacked the other; Israel and Egypt would recognize each other’s governments and sign a peace treaty; and Israel pledged to negotiate with the Palestinians for peace.

The agreement also provided for the free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal and recognition of the Gulf of Aqaba and the Straits of Tiran as international waterways.

Not since Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 had a president so effectively mediated a dispute between two other nations.

The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.

Carter believed in the rule of law in international affairs and in the principle of self-determination for all people. After his timer he wanted the United States to take the lead in promoting universal human rights. Carter believed that American power should be exercised sparingly and that the United States should avoid military interventions as much as possible. Carter strongly emphasized human rights throughout his career. The release of his new book this year demonstrates Carter’s continued interest in serving the country and his devotion to furthering the causes of human rights around the world.

President Jimmy Carter is in Sweden today 19th june 2014 to meet with Swedish government officials to thank Sweden for its cooperation with the Carter Center on projects spanning the globe and to discuss further opportunities for cooperation.

The Carter Center, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

Finally, he hoped that American relations with the Soviet Union would continue to improve and that the two nations could come to economic and arms control agreements that would relax Cold War tensions.

The period following the September 11 terrorist attacks brought both temporary operational changes to policy processes, and several organizational changes to the structure of the NSC staff. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks and subsequent interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, much of the policy development and decision-making for national security affairs was conducted at the NSC and PC level.

Organizational changes in the NSC staff structure included the establishment of the Office for Combating Terrorism headed by a new Deputy Assistant to the President/Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism and Deputy Assistants to the President/Deputy National Security Advisors (DAP/DNSA) for Strategic Communication and Global Outreach, and Global Democracy Strategy.

Bush administration found that it needed to adapt new structures to respond to immediate operational issues requiring high level guidance; political, economic and SSTR concerns; longer term policy planning and consideration of strategic interests; as well as facilitate interagency coordination.

For every national government, foreign policy can be viewed as a series of problem-solvingt asks.We must assume foreign policy decision-makers embark on a purposive course of action they believe represents the most desirable match between available resources and the problem as defined. Bush administration found that it needed to adapt new structures to respond to immediate operational issues requiring high level guidance; political, economic and SSTR concerns; longer term policy planning and consideration of strategic interests; as well as facilitate interagency coordination.

Although there has been relative stability in the statutory membership of the NSC since its inception, and in the supporting staff structures since the administration of President George H.W. Bush, one fundamental principle underlies the actual operation of the national security structures of all Presidents: the operation of the national security policy process is the result of what the President decides.

President Obama has directed that the “membership” of the NSC will include: the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff (Chief of Staff to the President), and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor).

Again this year, the Foreign Policy scholars at Brookings are offering President Obama and his Cabinet a set of policy analyses and recommendations from an outside perspective.

The United States faces a number of critical challenges—the ongoing war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan’s ability, the Iran nuclear negotiations, an enigmatic North Korea and other significant crises in world affairs. US invaded Iraq partly on grounds of Saddam’s alleged support for al-Qaeda. Here we are 11 yrs later and al-Q is trying to set up state there ones again.

President Obamas advisors are busy devising policy recommendations aimed at grappling with these thorny issues.

President Obama then must decide which priorities to pursue and how best to exercise U.S. power and influence to manage and shape the global order.

The National Security Advisor is the President’s personal advisor responsible for the daily management of national security affairs, and advises the President on the entirety of national security matters and coordinates the development of interagency policies.

Jake Sullivan, now the Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s national security adviser, is the youngest advisor in the department’s history. In July 2012 Mrs. Clinton sent him to Oman to meet Iranian officials to explore whether there was scope for a nuclear deal.

It was unusual because he didn’t have the high profile and years of experience that others had who could have been sent. Those first talks went nowhere, but in later meetings, Mr. Sullivan, joined by a more senior but similarly soft-spoken diplomat, William J. Burns, laid the groundwork for the interim nuclear deal that Iran signed with the West in Geneva last November.

Iran and the P5+1 nations appear to be fulfilling their commitments under the six-month interim agreement. Some progress is being made in Iran talks. But huge challenges remain and Iranian political will is the key requirement– reaching a final deal will be challenging. Achieving an agreement that meets the requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement, will not be easy.

Mr. Sullivan’s plans to stay on with the administration until July 20, the deadline for reaching a final nuclear deal with Iran. If that deadline slips, as many officials expect, he might have to delay his plans to conduct a last round of diplomacy.

Friends of Mr. Sullivan predict he will resist the pull of another campaign. He got a taste of the furies to come when his name surfaced on emails about the administration’s talking points after the Benghazi attack. A bigger disincentive is his girlfriend, Maggie Goodlander, who is a second-year law student at Yale and the main reason for his move to New Haven. The couple met at a security conference in Munich.