October 31, 2012
In studying the complex ideas of Foreign Policy in the United States we cannot overlook the importance of Domestic Policy. The study of Foreign Policy therefore has become ever more critical and important in our domestic decisions. In this paper Foreign Policy has played a major role in Domestic Policy. Every day people as well as well policy analysts have a greater desire to understand foreign policy decisions and what motivates the head of government in his foreign policy decision making. Scholarly research on leadership and foreign policy decision making show a far more sophisticated and complex view of the issue than most of the simplistic views seen in the popular press. The popular press prefers pointing finger at the executor of foreign policy decisions as it is easier to blame one person than a group or a system. The purpose of this paper is to examine and define foreign and domestic policy and their inter-connection and the complexities of the modern world. Foreign Policies are designed by the Executive Branch and Congress with the aim of achieving complex domestic and international agendas. It usually involves an elaborate series of steps and where domestic politics plays an important role. In this paper I will critically analyze the role of head of government of a country in foreign policy decision making and how he is influenced by domestic politics. Foreign policies are in most cases designed through coalitions of domestic and international actors and groups. When analyzing the head of government or in other words the executor of foreign policies many motivating factors can be identified to explain the rationale behind decisions taken. Some factors of influence include the leader’s own personality and cognition, degree of rationality, domestic politics and international and domestic interest groups. However out of all the factors mentioned it is domestic political environment that shapes the entire framework of decision making in a country even in international context. To understand foreign policy decision making I will first draw on traditional explanations of foreign policy and then proceed to the influence of domestic politics, the issue of acceptability, strategic choice, rational choice, and finally psychological theories of decision making as well. Foreign policy is the sum of official external relations conducted by an independent actor (usually a state) in international relations. Foreign Policy includes not only military action but trade and humanitarian interactions as well. When trying to analyze the role of the head of government in foreign policy decision making it is important to know what is motivating her. Depending on the political system of the head of government, the influencing factors will vary. For the head of government in a democracy such as India consensus of the office and public opinion will play an important role. A socialist republic like China may be harsher in taking decisions which may not meet public consensus but have a long term national agenda. Most recently in a Political Debate our Presidential leaders, played a two level game between international and domestic politics. According to Neack, the head of government in any kind of political system is motivated by two similar goals: retain political power and build and maintain policy coalitions (1). The domestic politics can also influence him either because he wants to achieve domestic goals through foreign policies or he wants his foreign policy decisions not to interfere with domestic agendas. The influence of domestic politics can be demonstrated here with the example of an India and US treaty. The foreign policy in question here was a nuclear treaty that was to be made between India and the United States in 2005. India had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT) and demanded to hold on to and foster its nuclear capabilities to defend...
Cited: 1. Neack, Laura. (2008). The New Foreign Policy- power seeking in a globalized era (2nd Ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
2. Neack, Laura. (2008). The New Foreign Policy- power seeking in a globalized era (2nd Ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
3. Christopher Hill, The Changing Politics of Foreign Policy. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
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