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Chapter

Valentina Aronica and Inderjeet Parmar

This chapter examines domestic factors that influence American foreign policy, focusing on the variety of ways in which pressure groups and elites determine and shape what the United States does in the international arena. It first considers how US foreign policy has evolved over time before discussing the US Constitution in terms of foreign policy making and implementation. It then explores institutional influences on foreign policy making, including Congress and the executive branch, as well as the role of ‘orthodox’ and ‘unorthodox’ actors involved in the making of foreign policy and how power is distributed among them. It also analyzes the Trump administration’s foreign policy, taking into account the ‘Trump Doctrine’ and the US strikes on Syria.

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This chapter examines the transatlantic partnership between Europe and the United States. It first considers US strategic interests and how they are now changing, along with the implications of this shift for US foreign and defence policy priorities. It then describes some of the fundamental challenges faced by the European Union, including over-expansion, the demise of the Warsaw Pact, the euro crisis, a deteriorating regional environment, the persistence of nationalism, and the refugee crisis. It argues that these challenges threaten the liberal order that is one of the West’s most salient achievements, raise serious questions about the EU’s long-term future, and make Europe a less reliable and valuable partner for the United States. The chapter concludes with an assessment of possible prospects for the US-Europe relations, including the (slim) possibility of a genuine renewal in transatlantic ties.

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Michael Smith and Rebecca Steffenson

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union's relations with the United States. More specifically, it looks at the ways in which EU–US relations enter into the international relations of the EU as well as the implications for key areas of the EU's growing international activity. The chapter begins with an overview of the changing shape and focus of the EU–US relationship as it enters into economic, political, and security questions. It then considers the impact of EU–US relations on the EU's system of international relations, on the EU's role in the processes of international relations, and on the EU's position as a ‘power’ in international relations. It shows that the EU–US relationship has played a key (and contradictory) role in development of the EU's foreign policy mechanisms.

Chapter

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter presents two opposing views on the question of whether US power is in decline, and if so, what would be the best grand strategy that the United States need to pursue. According to Christopher Layne, the United States is now in inexorable decline and that this process of decline has been hastened by the pursuit of global primacy in the post-Cold War era. He also contends that primacy engenders balancing by other great powers as well as eroding America’s ‘soft power’ global consensual leadership. On the other hand, William Wohlforth and Steven Brooks insist that the United States remains the sole superpower in the world and that it faces comparatively weak systemic constraints on the global exercise of its power. The chapter considers issues of unipolarity and multipolarity, along with the implications of China’s rise as a great power status for US foreign policy and hegemony.

Chapter

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines how global terrorism, and particularly the war on terror, has shaped US foreign policy. It first provides an overview of the 9/11 terror attacks and definitions of terrorism before discussing the US experience of terrorism prior to 9/11 as well as the political environment in Washington at the time of the attacks. It then considers the response of the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the nature and aims of the al-Qaeda organization. It also reviews the conduct of the war on terror in its first nine years, along with the decline and transformation of al-Qaeda after 2010. Finally, it analyzes the options available to the United States in the war against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and like-minded groups.

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This chapter examines the academic debates over the relationship between US public opinion, media, and foreign policy. It first considers the nature of US media and public opinion, including democratic expectations of mass media and public opinion, before discussing pluralist and elite approaches to understanding the links between media, public opinion, and foreign policy. It then explores the role of propaganda and persuasion with respect to US power projection, with particular emphasis on the ways in which public opinion and media can be understood as a source of power for — and as a constraint upon — US foreign policy. It also reviews contemporary debates regarding the impact of technological developments, such as the emergence of global media like the internet and social media, upon US power and influence.

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This chapter examines the impact of regional shifts on the making of US foreign policy. One of the most distinctive features of American politics is regionally based political competition and conflict. Scholars argue that regionalism in American politics is rooted in the geographically uneven nature of economic growth and development. The chapter first revisits debates over American foreign policy in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the current era, focusing on issues such as those relating to expansionism and hegemony, internationalism, militarism, and the disagreement between ‘red America’ and ‘blue America’ over foreign policy matters. It then explains how regional diversity causes tension and conflict in foreign policy and argues that conflicts over the purposes of American power, as well as the constitutional authority to exercise it, stem from the distribution of wealth and power in American society among coalitions with divergent interests and claims on the federal government’s resources.

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This work examines how domestic politics and culture shape US foreign policy, with particular emphasis on the role of institutions and processes. It considers the ways in which pressure groups and elites determine influence what the United States does abroad, the importance of regional shifts and media and their impact on the making of US foreign policy, and US relations with Europe, the Middle East, Russia, the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and Africa. The text also discusses key issues relevant to American foreign policy, such as global terrorism, the global environment, gender, and religion. It argues that whoever resides in the White House will continue to give the military a central role in the conduct of US foreign policy, and that whoever ‘runs’ American foreign policy will still have to deal with the same challenges both at home and abroad.

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This chapter examines US foreign policy in Russia. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 raised a number of questions that have profound implications for American foreign policy; for example, whether the Russian Federation, which inherited half the population and 70 per cent of the territory of the former Soviet Union, would become a friend and partner of the United States, a full and equal member of the community of democratic nations, or whether it would return to a hostile, expansionary communist or nationalist power. The chapter considers US–Russia relations at various times under Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Dmitry Medvedev, and Donald Trump. It also discusses a host of issues affecting the US–Russia relations, including the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the crisis in Kosovo and Ukraine, and the civil war in Syria.

Chapter

Michael Smith

This chapter examines the United States’ transatlantic relationship with the European integration project and its implications for US foreign policy. In particular, it considers the ways in which US policy makers have developed images of the European Community (EC) and later the European Union (EU) on the challenges posed by European integration for US policy processes and the uses of US power. The chapter first explores key factors in the evolution of the relationship within US foreign policy up to the end of the Cold War before discussing trends and tensions in the period between 1990 and 2016 covering the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. It also analyzes the impact of Donald Trump’s policies on US relations with the EU before concluding with an assessment of a number of wider questions about the future of the US–EU relations.

Chapter

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter focuses on the debate over whether U.S. power is in decline and if so, what is the best grand strategy that the United States needs to pursue. Three leading experts offer their views on the issue and its significance for U.S. foreign policy: Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Steven Brooks. Layne argues that the United States is now in inexorable decline and attributes it to the end of unipolarity. He identifies two specific drivers of American decline, one external and one domestic. The external driver of U.S. decline is the emergence of new great powers in world politics, while domestic drivers include debt, deficits, and the dollar’s uncertain future. In contrast, Wohlforth and Brooks assert that the United States remains the sole superpower, and that multipolarity is not just around the corner.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the so-called ‘second’ Cold War spanning the years 1981–5. Ronald Reagan came to power on the back of a general rightwards shift in the political mood. He concentrated on a presentational role in government and pursued a simple foreign policy. He dismissed détente as a communist trick, was initially determined to resist the spread of the Soviet Union’s influence wherever it threatened and, going beyond that, wanted to carry the new Cold War into the Soviet camp. The chapter first considers US–Soviet relations during the new Cold War, paying attention to ‘Reaganomics’, before discussing the crisis in Poland in 1980–2. It then explores the issue of nuclear weapons control and the ‘Year of the Missile’ and concludes with an assessment of the war in Afghanistan up to 1985.

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This chapter examines US foreign policy during the Cold War, beginning with an overview of the main historical developments in US policy. It first considers the origins of the Cold War and containment, focusing on the breakdown of the wartime alliance between the United States and the USSR, the emergence of US–Soviet diplomatic hostility and geopolitical confrontation, and how the Cold War spread beyond Europe. It then explains how the communist revolution in China in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 propelled the US towards a much bolder and more ambitious containment policy. It also looks at US military interventions in the third world, the US role in the ending of the Cold War, and the geopolitical, ideational, and/or socio-economic factors that influenced American foreign policy during the Cold War. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the dual concerns of US foreign policy.

Chapter

Daniel Deudney and Jeffrey W. Meiser

This chapter argues why we must think of the United States as an exceptional kind of nation with a very distinct past and an equally distinct set of capabilities. It first considers American difference and exceptionality before discussing the meaning of exceptionalism, the critics of American exceptionalism, and the roots of American success. It then examines the liberalism that makes the United States exceptional, along with peculiar American identity formations of ethnicity, religion, and ‘race’ and how they interact with — and often subvert — American liberalism. It also analyses the role of American exceptionality across the five major epochs of US foreign policy, from the nation’s founding to the present day. Along the way, the chapter explores notions of American liberal republicanism, anti-statism, state-building, militarism, capitalism and prosperity, immigration, federal internationalism, unipolarity, war on terrorism, and unilateralism.

Chapter

This chapter considers future prospects for US foreign policy on the basis of long-established patterns and other factors such as the interests and ideology of elites, the structures of political life, the country’s real or perceived national interests, and the increasingly troubled domestic scene. It first examines the ideological roots of US foreign policy before discussing some of the major contemporary challenges for US foreign policy, including relations with China, US military power, and the US political order. It then describes the basic contours of US foreign policy over the next generation with respect to the Middle East, the Far East, Russia, Europe and the transatlantic relationship, climate change, and international trade. It also presents catastrophic scenarios for American foreign policy and argues that there will no fundamental change in US global strategy whichever of the two dominant political parties is in power.

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This chapter examines how the external environment of US foreign policy and internal pressures on policy makers both shifted radically in the 1990s. Internationally, the ‘long 1990s’ were characterized by intense democratic possibility. Yet they were also years of atavistic negativity and irrationality, as seen in Rwanda and Bosnia. Two questions arise: First, how should the United States respond to a world which was apparently both rapidly integrating and rapidly disintegrating? Second, was it inevitable, desirable, or even possible that the US should provide global leadership? Before discussing various approaches to these questions, the chapter considers the wider international environment of apparent unipolarity and globalization. It also analyzes the development of American foreign policy under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, focusing in particular on the so-called ‘Kennan sweepstakes’ during the first year of Clinton’s presidency as well as Clinton’s turn towards unilateralism and remilitarization.

Chapter

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Latin America and the historical evolution of US relations with the region. It first considers the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny, which sought to contain European expansion and to justify that of the United States under an ethos of hemispherism, before discussing the projection of US power beyond its frontiers in the early twentieth century. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a less unilateral approach during the depression of the 1930s and an aggressively ideological approach in the wake of the Cuban Revolution. It also analyzes US policy towards the left in Central America, where armed conflict prevailed in the 1980s, and in South America, where the Washington Consensus brought an end to the anti-European aspects of the Monroe Doctrine by promoting globalization. Finally, it looks at the impact of the Cold War on US policy towards Latin America.

Chapter

Robert G. Patman

This chapter examines US foreign policy in Africa. It first considers the United States’ historical engagement with Africa, particularly during the Cold War era that saw the intensification of US–Soviet Union superpower rivalry, before discussing the rise of a New World Order in the immediate post–Cold War period that held out the possibility of positive US involvement in Africa. It then explores the United States’ adoption of a more realist approach after Somalia, as well as its renewal of limited engagement between 1996 and 2001. It also analyzes US policy towards Africa after 9/11, with emphasis on President George W. Bush’s efforts to incorporate Africa into Washington’s global strategic network as part of the new war on terror, as compared to the approach of the Obama administration calling for political transformation in Africa.

Chapter

This chapter considers some of the competing theories that have been proposed to explain US foreign policy. It first provides an overview of some of the obstacles to constructing a theory of foreign policy before discussing some of the competing theories of US foreign policy, including systemic theories such as defensive realism and offensive realism, theories that accentuate domestic factors like liberalism and Marxism, and a theory that combines systemic and domestic factors, such as neoclassical realism and constructivism. The chapter also revisits the theoretical debate over the origins of the Cold War and concludes by analysing the debate on the most appropriate grand strategy that the United States should follow in the post-Cold War era, with particular emphasis on, primacy, liberal internationalism, and offshore balancing.

Chapter

Sylvia Bashevkin

This chapter examines how gender shapes US foreign policy. It first considers key perspectives that can be drawn from the work of Cynthia Enloe and other feminist writers before discussing a series of empirical questions that follow from this background; for example, when and how women entered the main institutions of American foreign policy; how female diplomats responded to discriminatory attitudes and practices; in what ways women leaders have influenced the directions of US foreign policy; and how sexual orientation politics figure in State Department actions. The chapter goes on to highlight strong resistance to efforts to integrate women’s rights and gay rights claims in the content of US foreign policy.