A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 20
Kinds of Foreign Policy
1. In the United States, Congress declares war, and such restrictions
can disadvantage the U.S. in the realm of foreign policy, but some
say that some presidents have gone too far in the past.
The major questions in foreign policy remain: how great are
the president’s powers, what role should Congress play, and
how important are the public and interest groups?
The decision to go to war, the signing of alliances with European
nations, and the negotiation of nuclear test ban treaties are
examples of foreign policy that fall under
The president is usually the powerful figure supported by the
Foreign policy decisions, such as the adjustment of tariff rates, could
interest group politics
Raising the tariff on Japanese-produced steel helps American
steel makers but hurts those that used to purchase Japanese
can occur when, say, America provides
aid to U.S. corporations doing business abroad; another example is
the U.S. involvement in Israel, since lots of Jews favor it.
In client or interest group politics, Congress plays a much
larger role, and it can also be the forum where clashing
opinions are expressed and criticism is laced.
Congress often seeks to expand it foreign policy power during
times of controversy, especially if it is the president’s fault!
The Constitutional and Legal Context
5. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces, appoints
ambassadors, and negotiates treaties, but Congress authorizes and
appropriates money for armed forces, approves ambassadors, and
ratifies treaties; thus, foreign policy can become very sticky.
Yet, most people think that the president is in charge of
foreign affairs, and in many cases, he has
asserted the right to
send troops abroad for a war, plus, the
Central Intelligence Agency
, and the
are almost totally presidential agencies.
The president has signed over 7000 executive agreements
with other countries that didn’t require Congressional
ratification, as opposed to the 1000 treaties that Congress has