American Foreign Policy Reading Notes

O 2 the desire of presidents and congressional

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o 2. The desire of presidents and congressional representatives for reelection creates a pathway from international moral norms to norm-observant behavior. That pathway can be achieved by the efforts of domestic groups to rally support for an international moral norm and thus threaten a president’s policy legitimacy, personal reputation, or congressional support. o 3. The structural pathway from moral norms to state behavior arises from nations’ desires to avoid gaining a reputation for inequitable conduct on the international system. Are there cases of significant foreign policy decision making in which these channels have operated so as to bring international moral norms to bear on foreign policy in the way that the internationalists had predicted? o The following chapters seek to show that there are. 2/24 James Lindsay, “Congress and the Politics of American Foreign Policy”
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The contrasting balance of power in executive-legislative relations has shifted back and forth between Congress and the president many times over the course of American history. o The reason for these ebbs and flows does not lie in the Constitution, but in politics. Congress possesses extensive powers to shape foreign policy in the Constitution o However, Congress and the president both can claim ample constitutional authority. The two branches are separated institutions sharing power. Conclusions o How aggressively Congress exercises its powers turns on the critical questions of whether the country sees itself as threatened or secure. o Times of peace favor congressional activism. Times of war favor congressional deference. o Is there any reason to believe that America’s foreign policy is better served by an assertive Congress or a deferential one? Easy to ask but impossible to answer. No objective standard exists for judging how to strike the proper balance between activism and deference. Congressional activism can be helpful, but can also be harmful. It takes an already cumbersome decision making process even more so. A deferential Congress avoids these problems but creates others. Presidents unburdened by congressional second-guessing find it easier to exploit the advantages of decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch. It is this temptation to overreach that may be the greatest risk in American foreign policy after 9/11. 3/1 “The War over Israel’s Influence”: Foreign Policy Roundtable where Mearsheimer and Walt face 4 distinguished experts of the Middle East over whether the influence of the Israel lobby is ordinary or extraordinary John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “Unrestricted Access: What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets” o Every year the US gives Israel a level of support that far exceeds what is provides to other states This cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. o The “special relationship” with Israel is due largely to the activists of the Israel lobby – a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who openly work to push US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.
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