American Foreign Policy

American Foreign Policy PS 123/PACS 130
Spring 2003
Monday and Wednesday 4-5:30
4 LeConte
Professor Crawford
202 Moses Hall
Office Hours: M 10-11:30


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Lecture 2 US Foreign Policy Realist Perspective

I. Where We are:
A. Two world views
B. US overwhelming power.
C. How Useful is overwhelming Power
E. How Unique is Current US Policy?

II. Today’s Lecture Where does Foreign Policy come from? The Realist Perspective
A. The importance of the International/External Environment
B. The International System is Anarchic
C.A Competitive International Environment
D. The Three Goals of Foreign Policy

  • It must be the goal of foreign policy to protect National Interests
    1. The Three P’s (or the 5 P’s)
    2.The Role of Domestic Politics
  • It must be the goal of foreign policy to ignore morality

“expediency goes with security, while justice and honour cannot be followed without danger”

  • It must be the goal of foreign policy to maintain a state that is autonomous from society
    former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan wrote:
    "... For as adamant as my country has been about civil liberties duirng peacetime, it has a long history ... of failing to preserve civil liberties when it perceived its national security threatened."

    E. The Structure of the International System shapes Foreign Policy
    1. Bipolar system
    2. Multipolar system
    3. Unipolar system

III. Conservative Realists and Liberal Realists.
A.Conservative Realists:
B. Liberals focus on the Security Dilemma under Anarchy

  • What is Anarchy? What are its effects?
    Lack of a central government-->insecurity? self help for survival->amassing power->military force-->others watch and feel insecure-->build up their own power and force->security dilemma-->war (get your enemy before he gets you)
  • Miscalculation
  • What mutes the security dilemma?

1. A defensive advantage
2. Arms control and inspections
3. Multilateralism

  • What Happens when the security Dilemma is muted?

IV. Critiques of Realism:
A. The stakes of war are too high in a nuclear world

B. The immorality of Realism cannot be tolerated

C. The national security state can’t be tolerated in a democracy

D. Permanent warfare can drain the power of the state (Athens)

E. There are many global problems in which the “human interest” not the national interest is most important: destruction of the ozone, global warming, other sorts of environmental degradation