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American Foreign Policy: Notes for Final

American Foreign Policy: Notes for Final -...

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Department of State (p. 367-378) o Task of State Dept is not making most important decisions for crises, its meant for daily work regarding AFP Crisis decision making creates issues that forces it to top, doesn’t allow expert reviews at bottom (desk people are really the only experts in State Dept. on specific issues) o Eldest US gov’t agency o Modest size (35,000 in DC, 10,000 overseas) o Structure (from bottom to top) Desks : specialists in each country headed by a Country Officer Size of specialist staff depends on size of country and amount of AFP associated with the country Paper pushers– tons of paperwork comes through offices daily Specialists help interpret, answer Q’s about Policy Somewhat slow process: o Not meant for crises abroad, but for daily work Country Officer : head of specific group of desks for a single country Regional Bureaus : Assistant Sec. Of States: Undersecretaries: Secretary of State: o Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) An elite core of professional diplomats Organizational subculture : a common set of goals and norms shared by members of an agency that shapes their perceptions, actions, and policy preferences, while also affecting agency processes and procedures The organization subculture of the Foreign Service has several qualities: o This unique system leads to elitism o It develops a resistance to outside ideas “We listen carefully and politely but seldom change our views” o The widely held belief that the only experience that is relevant to the activities of the Dept. of State is experience gained in the Foreign Service o Its emphasis on the essence or central mission of the department: negotiation, representation, and reporting o The way the Foreign Service manages its personnel contributes to: its cautiousness and risk-aversion Foreign Service offices must advance beyond their present rank within a specified time, or be “selected out” This “stifles creativity, discourages risk-taking, and rewards conformity” As a result of McCarthyism (which investigated all FS officers for Communist ties), there were serious consequences for the State Dept.:
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The “attacks” promoted harmful values among its personnel: caution, conformity, discretion, and prudence Extraordinary security consciousness and elaborate horizontal clearances resulted o This fact has made the State Dept’s operating procedures among the most complex of federal agencies This results in a slowness and inefficiency in the departments processes, as well as “a most cautious way of doing business” o State Dept now The problems with its operating procedures, subculture, etc, has contributed to a decline of the State Dept’s influence in the wider foreign policy circles o Explanation for why a dept that theoretically sits center-stage in the foreign policy affairs gov’t is in fact ill-equipped to play a leadership role State Dept in the Foreign Affairs Gov’t
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