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Presidential Leadership in Foreign Policy-Making Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 16th, 2021

Introduction

The unique position of the US President as the key decision-maker has opened up the opportunity to exert a broader and more targeted influence on the course and content of foreign policy development. The presidential foreign policy establishment is faced with the task of ideologically substantiating its strategy of international activities in the new environment. However, the president is involved in presenting a model of new world order and a global strategy for the long term. The study of the doctrinal aspects of US foreign policy in the areas of foreign policy making is all the more relevant. It is due to the vision, concepts, ways of implementing foreign policy guidelines, and the institutional base of the current system of international relations. It was proposed and developed by US foreign policy specialists, as well as interpretation US roles remain debatable. The president’s role in policy making is to ensure goal adherence and thorough execution. The recent Obama and Bush administrations are excellent illustrations of the presidential role in international relations.

The basis of the US strategy is the doctrine of American foreign policy. It is manifested on the concept of neoconservatism, which can be expressed in the form of virtue and power1. The era of the 2000s, perhaps one of the most critical periods of American history, to a certain extent, rival the age of the formation of the US statehood. The events of September 11, 2001, sharply actualized the issue of national security and the terrorist threat. The policy integration was preceded by a large-scale preparation of public opinion, and an atmosphere of intense anticipation was created around the document. In addition, US foreign policy was highly regarded as a source of global unipolarity, which raised some concerns2. It was signed by the president to introduce to the US National Security Strategy, briefly outlining the main ideas of the document.

Bush Administration

The given presidential decisions caused a great resonance in society and received a positive assessment as a clear, far-sighted, and impressive response to the threats that America faces today. However, at the same time, it was criticized as a radical and disturbing retreat from the American foreign policy tradition. In the following months, senior foreign ministers, as well as the president, explained the administration’s approach in more detail. It included the possibility of preemptive strikes, taking preventive measures instead of waiting passively and reacting only after the United States or its allies were attacked. After analyzing the National Security Service, we can distinguish four main topics that clearly indicate the globalization of threats to national security. It is important to note that the given occurrences are the result of the concept of the language game analysis, which outline the basis of social and political relationships.3. It was born in close connection with finding a solution to the problem of new challenges and threats to national and international security, in particular, terrorism. The events pushed the United States to review its foreign policy. Now the main threat to the safety of the United States is international terrorism.

The danger of the new-minded enemy is that it is not a specific government in a certain territory. These are organizations that are scattered throughout the world, differing in power, influence, and number of people. The constitutional authority and presidential role of Bush administration were manifested in increased awareness of foreign policy making process and related procedures. The main issue with the given idea is that presidential influence can be manifested in various human attributes, such as charisma4. The national security strategy does not refute half a century of doctrine and does not discard the policy of deterrence and intimidation. Only now a new, complementary concept of preventive defense is added to these concepts. Thus, the United States needs to be prepared to take action before the threats are fully materialized. The last section of the National Security Strategy is devoted to the reorganization of the institutions providing it.

The Bush administration intended to undertake the largest since the time of President Truman, when the Ministry of Defense and the CIA were created, the reorganization of the federal government, forming the Ministry of Homeland Security. Major American institutions in the field of national security were created at another time and for other tasks. Therefore, it should be noted that every defense committee that is established to preserve peace on national scale, operates globally. The president’s philosophical rationale revolved around ensuring national safety and security. He both supported and signed the given executive order in order to integrate the policy changes. The 2006 strategy, in contrast to the previous document, extends the initial security framework outlined by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq.

Obama Administration

The foreign policy steps taken by the B. Obama administration were capable of providing a strong incentive for revising American strategic thought. Unlike the strategic innovations of George W. Bush, who evoked a public response, the Obama general line clearly claimed a new pragmatism, a coalition approach based on strength in solving various problems of international importance. It is important to note that neoconservatism plays an essential role in guiding the US foreign policy5. One can judge the degree of continuity and novelty in the administration’s approach to US security issues. In this formulation of the question, there were no significant changes in foreign policy.

Obama’s national security strategy, like all previous documents of this kind, retained an emphasis on maintaining American leadership in the world. However, Obama’s administration began to operate by following the Clintonian irrationality, which severely hindered the overall performance6. However, it is difficult to state that Obama followed the biblical rights of conscience because the policy was nation focused and specific. For the first time, the strategy proposes to integrate the main tools of American power, which involves diplomacy, military force, economic mechanisms, intelligence, and internal security forces. Thus, small and unnoticeable interactions are critical in determining the future of nation’s foreign policy.7. At the same time, the approach of the current Trump’s leadership of the United States contains a number of important innovations, not only tactical but also strategic.

Historically, the American approach to the problem of ensuring national security was limited to the international aspects of military and foreign policy issues. Issues of domestic policy and economic development were not considered to be in the field of US national security. The administration has moved away from such a rigid distinction and expanded the concept of national security. The Obama strategy was comprehensive, and it was an attempt to integrate the internal and international aspects of national security.

Obama’s new strategy reflected the acute systemic crisis that the United States faced at the end of the last decade. It is important to regulate and consider the limitations, because overstretching them can lead to serious consequences. The thesis of overvoltage was repeated in the text of the document three times. It was often accepted that no country was able to bear the burden of responsibility alone. The Obama administration continued to gradually increase the importance of foreign policy changes. However, the document proposed to reduce unnecessary costs for international relations. It should be noted that the given case can be explained through a language game analysis, where unimportant cue lead to serious changes8. However, there was no talk about reducing military spending, although a promise was made to reduce or restructure outdated, duplicate, inefficient, and unnecessary programs.

Discussion

The previous strategy shifted US foreign policy from decades of a containment course toward a more aggressive approach, which is attacking enemies before they strike the US. The doctrine of preventiveness caused fierce debate at that time, and many critics believe that the failure to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It dealt a fatal blow to the main premise of this strategy, which was that intelligence data about the enemy’s capabilities and intentions might be sufficient to justify preventive of war.

Although the concept of pre-emptive strikes is no longer a priority, the United States did not reject it. In the paper, America confirms that its strategy is to deliver preventive strikes against countries that pose a threat to them. If necessary, the foreign policy does not exclude the use of force before the citizens are attacked, even if there are doubts about the date and place of the attack of the enemy. In order to support the legislation, step-by-step introduction and implementations were done with presidential supervision. At the same time, the executive order emphasizes that international cooperation, especially with the countriy’s oldest and most loyal friends and allies, is considered as a priority means of resolving crises.

The US foreign policy is based on two pillars, which includes the doctrine of unsurpassed American military superiority, and the concept of preventive war and readiness to act alone. It also involves multilateral cooperation to achieve US foreign policy goals is impossible to achieve. Bush advocates point out the sluggishness of existing international institutions. The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorist organizations and those states that provide them with shelter and assistance. This document is the first significant revision of the key doctrine, in which preemptive strikes against alleged terrorist targets were based.

It is important to note that there are a number of factors that lead to a hindered communication, which makes the set of derivatives highly inconsistent9. Iran was declared as the main enemy of the United States. America accuses Tehran of extending nuclear weapons and providing shelter to terrorists. North Korea is also considered as a country threatening the proliferation of atomic weapons. That is why the White House proposes to introduce universal control over the production of components for new foreign policy. The president mostly acted as an independent entity, but the collaboration process took place. Therefore, it is clear that the given occurrence was directly influenced by ideological classification, and Obama was not willing to use US force10. In short, Washington noted some positive changes taking place in the EU and called it as an ally in the fight against terrorism.

The presidential foreign policy emphasized that the United States could not achieve significant positive change without the support of international allies and partners. The presidential leadership was manifested in his speech, which included comments on the description and policy promotion. However, Washington expressed a very skeptical attitude towards the development of democracy in the world. The strategy states that the United States must be prepared to act independently if necessary. According to the proponents of Obama’s administration, previous presidents were responsible for initiating the czar proliferation11. The presidential foreign policy included the American understanding of democracy and the needs of combating undesirable regimes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it must be noted that both strategies set the course for coordinating the process of forming a new system of foreign policies and international relations by the United States. It was based on increasing cooperation between countries and establishing key strategic ties. Although the term multipolar world was not used in the new strategy, the emphasis is on multilateral partnerships, and the strengthening of alliances from Europe was implemented. The nations also involved North America, East Asia, and the Pacific, because they were in the sphere of key American interests. The long-term goals of presidential foreign policy were to maintain peace and ensure security, where Washington is obliged to formulate new approaches and priorities for its Middle East course. It occurred due to the rapid and global political and economic changes in the region. Therefore, the president’s role foreign policy making is ensuring the promotion of the proposals alongside the monitoring the execution.

References

Carsten, Melissa K., Michelle C. Bligh, Jeffrey C. Kohles, and Vienne Wing-Yan Lau. “A Follower-Centric Approach to the 2016 US Presidential Election: Candidate Rhetoric and Follower Attributions of Charisma and Effectiveness.” Leadership 15, no. 2 (2019): 179–204.

Edwards, George C., Kenneth R. Mayer, and Stephen J. Wayne. Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making. Stamford, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018.

Karkour, Haro L. “Unipolarity’s Unpeacefulness and US Foreign Policy: Consequences of a ‘Coherent System of Irrationality.’” International Relations 32, no. 1 (2018): 60-79.

Pan, Chengxin, and Oliver Turner. “Neoconservatism as Discourse: Virtue, Power and US Foreign Policy.” European Journal of International Relations 23, no. 1 (2017): 74-96.

Skonieczny, Amy. “Playing Partners: Expectation, Entanglement, and Language Games in US Foreign Policy.” International Relations 29, no. 1 (2015): 69-95.

Sollenberger, Mitchel A., and Mark J. Rozell. The President’s Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012.

Footnotes

  1. Chengxin Pan and Oliver Turner. “Neoconservatism as Discourse: Virtue, Power and US Foreign Policy.” European Journal of International Relations 23, no. 1 (2017): 79.
  2. Haro L. Karkour. “Unipolarity’s Unpeacefulness and US Foreign Policy: Consequences of a ‘Coherent System of Irrationality.’” International Relations 32, no. 1 (2018): 71.
  3. Amy Skonieczny. “Playing Partners: Expectation, Entanglement, and Language Games in US Foreign Policy.” International Relations 29, no. 1 (2015): 88.
  4. Melissa K. Carsten, Michelle C. Bligh, Jeffrey C. Kohles, and Vienne Wing-Yan Lau. “A Follower-Centric Approach to the 2016 US Presidential Election: Candidate Rhetoric and Follower Attributions of Charisma and Effectiveness.” Leadership 15, no. 2 (2019): 183.
  5. Chengxin and Turner, “Neoconservatism as Discourse: Virtue, Power and US Foreign Policy,” 86.
  6. Karkour, “Unipolarity’s Unpeacefulness and US Foreign Policy: Consequences of a ‘Coherent System of Irrationality,” 67.
  7. Skonieczny, “Playing Partners: Expectation, Entanglement, and Language Games in US Foreign Policy,” 73.
  8. Skonieczny, “Playing Partners: Expectation, Entanglement, and Language Games in US Foreign Policy,” 77.
  9. George C. Edwards et al. Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making (Stamford, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2018), 296.
  10. Karkour, “Unipolarity’s Unpeacefulness and US Foreign Policy: Consequences of a ‘Coherent System of Irrationality,” 74.
  11. Mitchel A. Sollenberger and Mark J. Rozell. The President’s Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), 157.
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IvyPanda. 2021. "Presidential Leadership in Foreign Policy-Making." July 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/presidential-leadership-in-foreign-policy-making/.

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