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14. The United States in the Middle East  

Andrew Payne and Michael C. Hudson

This chapter contributes to the in-depth study of the evolution of US policy towards the Middle East. It reviews the origins and development of US policy over the past century, stressing the crucial and interdependent relationship between different domestic constituencies in the US and the conduct of US foreign policy. It also gives an implicit critique of realist approaches and analyses the neo-conservative revolution under George W. Bush. The chapter offers assessments of the records of the most recent administrations, such as President Barack Obama’s attempt to reset relations with the region included an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program. It talks about how President Donald Trump upended US Middle East policy in several significant ways, while his successor President Joe Biden, sought to undo parts of his predecessor’s legacy.

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3. The Cold War in the Middle East  

Louise Fawcett and Peter Sluglett

This chapter highlights the legacy of the Cold War in the Middle East and shows how it continues to resonate, including Russia’s ‘return’ to the region via its presence in Syria. It examines traditional interpretations in the historiography of the Cold War which are linked to dominant realist paradigms in international relations and attribute great importance to external agency. It also covers the US policy which was viewed both by contemporaries and subsequent scholars as a reaction to the Soviet threat. The chapter reviews accounts released from post-Cold-War archives, which add more nuance and detail to the role played by domestic actors in shaping the conflict. It emphasizes the persuasive power of realism and the dominance of material interests and recognizes the role of local actors and forces in determining the trajectory the states of the Middle East.

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9. Domestic influences on foreign policy making  

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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23. Drifting apart? The emerging end of the transatlantic partnership  

Stephen M. Walt

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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17. The EU and the USA: Competitive Cooperation in a Turbulent World  

Michael Smith and Rebecca Steffenson

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union’s (EU’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.

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17. The European Union and the USA  

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.

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1. Introduction: US foreign policy—past, present, and future  

Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

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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10. Regional shifts and US foreign policy  

Peter Trubowitz

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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11. Media and US foreign policy  

Piers Robinson

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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18. Global terrorism  

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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25. US decline or primacy? A debate  

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.

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13. The USA and the EU  

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.

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14. US foreign policy in Russia  

Peter Rutland

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.

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23. US decline or primacy? A debate  

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.

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3. American exceptionalism  

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.

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6. American foreign policy during the Cold War  

Richard Saull

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.

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7. America in the 1990s: searching for purpose  

John Dumbrell

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.

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16. The ‘Second’ Cold War, 1981–5  

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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Edited by Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

US Foreign Policy provides a perspective on US foreign policy that is critical and connected. This text aims to help with the critically assessment of US foreign policy, presenting the reader with diverse political perspectives and giving them the tools to come to their own conclusions. Carefully developed ‘major debates’ and ‘controversies’ features help readers to connect theory with the real-world politics. As policy continues to change before our eyes, the text provides an overview of America’s ever-changing role in international politics. This new edition reflects the legacy of the Obama administration, the unfurling impacts of President Donald Trump, and the American role in world affairs. It includes new chapters on gender, religion, East Asia, and the Liberal International Order.

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12. US foreign policy in the Middle East  

Toby Dodge

This chapter examines the main dynamics that have transformed US foreign policy towards the Middle East since World War I from the time of Woodrow Wilson to that of Donald Trump. It first considers the applicability of realist, Marxist, and constructivist theories of international relations before discussing the ways in which the Cold War, oil, and Israel have shaped American foreign policy. In particular, it shows how the United States’ tactical approach to the Middle East has increased resentment towards the Americans, destabilized the region, and undermined the USA’s long-term strategic goals. The chapter also explores the Bush Doctrine, launched after 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, and President Barack Obama’s attempts to deal with the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring. Finally, it asks whether the Trump administration’s policy toward the Middle East represents a radical change or a continuity with previous presidents.