Us Wars

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  • Topic: Cold War, Marshall Plan, Containment
  • Pages : 13 (4433 words )
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  • Published : March 9, 2013
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Political Science 120A Midterm Study Questions

1. How does public opinion affect foreign policy? Is public opinion permissive or constraining? Does the U.S. public support the use of force? Under what conditions? -The public holds the president accountable because he needs approval ratings and support, especially during elections.  Public can constrain freedom of action (if the public hates something, the president isn’t going to do it), and the public generally supports war when it is a security issue.  It opposes casualties though, and in the case of the Vietnam War, the public urged the U.S. to back down.   If the public does not like something:

* permissive (could allow president to do something risky) - tends to rally round the flag whenever the president answers a crisis, does something dramatic * rally round the flag: support goes up 5.6% international and dramatic increase to 90% after 9/11 (Obama after Osama bin Laden was captured) * limit: doesn’t last over time; public doesn’t like casualties * exceptions: criticism would lower rally round flag effect * not willing to fight long wars

U.S. supports foreign policy decisions when it is restraining a nation rather than regime change, mainly because we are casualty averse. Public opinion can be an excuse not to enact a certain policy - bargaining resource.  

2. What roles does the constitution give to Congress in the making of foreign policy? How can Congress contribute constructively to U.S. foreign policy? What role did Congress play in the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003? Did Congress fulfill its constitutional responsibilities? Why or why not?

The Constitution doesn’t want the president to be too powerful; therefore, there are checks and balances.  The framers wanted division of authority in order to balance foreign policy power.  This includes the fact that only Congress can declare war, ratify treaties, and make appropriations (funding) for war.  War powers - Congress declares war and provides military → more than one man has decision to go to war.  President can also send troops into war without permission from Congress (i.e. Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq/Afghanistan War).   Treaty making power - shares power with president and Congress to give advice to (also need ⅔ senatorial consent) → this opens the exception that was created where the president can make executive agreements that don’t need to be ratified by Congress.  During the Cold War, 94% of the agreements made with other countries were executive agreements.  In an instance, it committed the U.S. to war, and should have been a treaty instead.   Power of the purse - use money making power to restrain the president (Congress can do this).  Congress can impose conditions to manipulate foreign policy and can insist that other nations meet certain extra requirements.  Congress can constrain the president on war making; but they must keep in mind that the troops aren’t to be endangered.   3. Why does the president have to bargain with bureaucrats to achieve his goals? What are organizational interests? What are some tactics that bureaucrats use to influence U.S. policy? How does bureaucratic politics affect the quality of U.S. foreign policy? Bureaucratic organizations enact the policies that the president and Congress make; they are essential to creating the result of foreign policy.  For example, the State Department is in charge of acting upon legislation that both the president and Congress have made in order to maintain national security.  Because of this power, the interests of these organizations shape their preferences.  The interests vary from organization to organization, and all of them compete against each other for funding.   Tactics:

1. Selected information - only give the president, administration, or congress information that will support your agenda 2. Leak - mobilize opposition
3. Speeches for president - language in speech to help...
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