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The US Public policy Essay

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Updated: May 2nd, 2019

Introduction

The following is a theoretical paper that represents a critique of the article given concerning the position-arguments of the author and how this author contributes to our understanding of the relationship between public opinion and public policy.

Piblic opinion and public policy entails the interaction that the government makes with the general public so as to obtain information and act according to the wishes of the citizens. Both the public opinion and public policy are mechanisms upon which the democracy in a country is represented.

This essay critiques the position-arguments of the author of the article “Who Influences U.S. Foreign Policy?” and how this author contributes to our understanding of the relationship between public opinion and public policy. The essay examines further the competing views on who influences the US foreign policy.

The essay also tackles the issue of experts and their influence on the US foreign policy, the business community and their influence on US foreign policy, labor, general public, government officials and their influence on the US foreign policy.

Competing views on who influences the US foreign policy

There are three competing views that are deemed t have an influence with regards to the United States foreign policy. The prominent views include the organized groups as well as Neo-liberalism, knowledge-based communities and epistemic communities and finally the median voter theory which mostly influences the public opinion.

According to Neoliberalism and interest groups, the labor as well as business communities influence the United States foreign policy through such tools as labor strikes, campaign contributions among others. The knowledge-based experts and epistemic communities are based on the view that the uncertainty that is associated with globalization has led the policymakers to seek for the experts who are responsible for giving out advice concerning the global issues.

The Median Voter theory is deemed to have an influence with regards to the public opinion. It holds the views that electoral competition is a way to motivate the leaders so as to act in accordance with the wishes of the voters.

Critique of the authors’ position on pubic opinion and public policy

Through the comparative analysis, the author has identified five main factors that influences the US foreign policy namely; public, business, labor, experts and government officials. The international business leaders were found to be the major factor that influences the US foreign policy. The experts i.e. the epistemic communities usually form the academy as well as tanks follows closely.

The business is thought by the author to influence the experts with regards to the US foreign policy. Labor is considered not to have a major influence and finally, the general public is considered to have less effect as far as the US foreign policy is concerned. Following is a critique of each of the above factors that are identified by the author;

The experts and their influence on the US foreign policy

According to the author, the experts represents the epistemic communities basically form the academy as well as the think tanks. The author’s findings were that the experts have an influence with regards to the decisions by policy makers. Think tanks entail the institutions that are concerned with generating the advice that helps the policy makers to make good judgment with regards to the public policy.

While the author holds the view that the think tanks have limited influence with regards to the US foreign policy, the same is not true. Their influence is however much as far as the United States governance system is concerned. The political scene of the United States of America is usually decentralized and separate from the normal political models and this forms a basis upon which the think tanks has control.

The political scene thus enables the think tanks to exercise their authority by use of the following techniques; usually, the executive and the legislative arms of government in the United States are separate implying that the president’s as well as congress’ powers are divided. This thus allows the think tanks to take an advantage and hence to exercise their influence.

The think tanks also takes advantage of the weak political parties to exercise their influence.Usually, the political parties do not engage themselves in extensive policy research that is key to policymaking. They thus rely entirely on the think tanks to carry out research that will help them in policymaking.

Think tanks come up with new ideas because of their critical thinking and creativity. The think tanks play an important role of providing the government with advice concerning policy issues. They also play a key role of mediating the political parties whenever a conflict arises.

The epistemic communities i.e. the think tanks are also much involved in the cabinet minister’s selection. In the United States, the ministers are not chosen from senate and instead, their positions are determined through several means and this provides an opportunity for the think tanks and academy to exercise their influence.

The revolving door system of the US gives the epistemic communities to take part in the US foreign policy matters. The revolving door system entails the arrangements upon which experts are supplied whenever a new administration comes into place.

The epistemic communities provide the researchers with theoretical models which enables them to carry out their political roles in an efficient and effective manner. The epistemic communities also have an advantage of being employed by the government as experts with regards to the foreign policy matters.

Also, the epistemic communities are actively involved during the political campaigns as well as the transitional periods of government. They are appointed so as to set the government’s foreign principles. For instance, the United States government appoints the think tanks during the presidential elections of other foreign countries.

Besides being involved in political mattes, the optimistic communities plays an important role of educating the general public on the government polices. They therefore boost the public understanding of some government policies that needs big brains to conceptualize. They also publish magazines and also organize conferences for the citizens as well as the state officials.

The United States is expected to act in a responsible manner as far as the foreign issues are concerned by the fact that it is the world’s superpower. It is thus expected to make informed decisions so as to ensure that the global interests as well as the interests of the United States’ citizens are met. With this regards to relies mostly on the experts i.e. the epistemic communities from the academy and think tanks in making the foreign policy decisions.

The above arguments thus are contrary with the authors view on the experts influence on the United States foreign policy. The experts are very much influential as far as the foreign policy is concerned.

The business community and their influence on US foreign policy

The author of the article in his findings found out that the technocratic calculations are not ideal as far as foreign policy is concerned. I however contest with the findings of the author that technocratic calculations don’t have a significant as far as the foreign policy is conned.

Technocracy is concerned with the situation whereby the professionals have the role of making all the decisions that involves their professionalism e.g.doctors,accountants among others. The authoritarian regimes such as China e.t.c.are doing well as a result of vesting the decision making role in the professionals.

The professionals in these forms of government makes decisions on their own including the foreign policy ones as opposed to querulous democracies such as the US. The China has been performing well as a result of its technocracy.Therefore; the author should consider the effect that the technocratic calculations have regarding the foreign policy.

The author thus holds the view that there exists opposing political interests that are aimed at safeguarding the public interests and therefore the business community is the one that benefits as a result. The authors’ findings don’t match with the views of Neo-liberalism.The Neo-liberalism holds the view that the business corporations play an important role of pressuring the decision makers.

The authors’ research findings were that the business community has an influence as far as the foreign policy is concerned.However,the author’s research omitted some key alternative variables.The author also didn’t examine the impact that the competing influences has with regards to the foreign policy.

The author thus failed to recognize the influence that the media has with regards to the foreign policy of the United States. Over the past few years, the media’s role of setting the political agendas has been on the rise. The business communities have been airing their issues regarding the foreign policy and their impact on their businesses through the media.

The international financial that acts on a global level such as the IMF as well as the World Bank has also been on the forefront as far as the foreign policy is concerned. The authors’ findings didn’t consider such factors that affect the foreign policy.

Labor and their influence on the US foreign policy

The author’s research findings were that the labor advocates exerts influence with regards to the foreign policy in a weak way. The findings also found out that the labor leaders exerts influence on the legislative arm of the government as opposed t the executive.Therefore,the authors’ views based on the research are that the interest groups do not have much influence as far as the foreign policy is concerned particularly in models I & 2 of the research.

However, I strongly disagree with the above findings by the author. Labor has been the largest supports of the US foreign policy in the last few years. This is due to the fact that it has enabled the United States government to establish a strong military, to decolonize the countries that have remained under colony, to provide foreign support to the needy countries among others.

The author of the article didn’t state the main reasons as to why labor has a relatively lower influence as compared to experts influence with regards to the foreign policy. The main reason behind this is due to the fact that the labor movements are usually comprised of unsuitable people who are not much interested in the public opinion and policy.

The past four decades have been characterized with the proliferation of certain groups outside the United States government seeking to have an influence with regards to the foreign policy. The groups are the non governmental organizations, business community, trade unions among others.

The ethnic groups for instance have emerged over the last few years have been as powerful in the United States foreign policy. Though the influence of ethnic groups dates back in the ancient times of the United States history, their influence has been on the rise as a result of more sophisticated lobbying techniques. The ones that have a significance influence are the ethnic groups which have a solid financial base.

The author in his article failed to recognize the impact of lobby groups with regards to the United Sates foreign policy. The interest groups as well as the lobbies have continued to influence the United States foreign policy. They have been directly involved in both the internal as well as the external affairs of the United States government.

The lobby groups as far as the United States foreign policy are very many and include the oil firms, on governmental organizations among others. Some of the factors that have maintained significant influence with regards to the United States foreign policy include the globalization as well as the need to enhance the political scene.

The political influence as well a group lobbies have remained as an integral part as far as the United States foreign policy is concerned.

The outside actors that are involved In the United States foreign policy are usually associate with positive effects.Firstly,they enhances the public awareness as a result of participation by members of the public. This in turn enables the politicians to have a greater awareness as far as public opinion is concerned.

The general public and their influence on US foreign policy

The research findings by the author were that public opinion does not have a major influence as far as the US foreign policy is concerned.However, the research findings by the author are not true. This is due to the fact that there is a high level of policy sensitivity and awareness to public opinion as far as the politics of the United States are concerned.

The following arguments are the basis upon which the research findings by the author can be contested; the number of voters in the recent years has been on the rise implying that there is the degree upon which members of the public has been responding to public opinion and policy is high. The public opinion with regards to a new policy is usually high.

The public opinion has for instance determined the kind of policies that the government adopts. The opinion polls have been used in the United States to predict the election’s outcomes and this implies that there exists a high level of responsiveness as far as the public opinion is concerned.

A low opinion has the effect of making the head of state to drop a proposal and hence to promote those proposals that are preferred by the general public. The president can thus change such policies as budgetary policies e.t.c. as a result of the public opinions.Also,there exists a correlation between public opinions influence and such aspects as tax cuts, social security among others.

Political actors are also very responsiveness as far as the public opinion is concerned. For instance, President Bush used to seek public opinion by talking to the United States nationals while riding on a horse. Abraham Lincoln relied mostly on the media so as to understand the public opinion.

President Kennedy conducted secret opinion polls in an effort to have an understanding of the public opinion. In the recent past, the opinion polls usage by the political elites, interests groups, and e.t.c. has been on the rise with an aim of obtaining information concerning the attitudes of the general public.

The author’s view that the general public has less influence with regards to foreign policy does not go well to those people who believe in democracy. The democratic adherents advocate the government’s responsiveness in relation to the wishes of the local residents.

The author also didn’t consider the impact that the foreign policy has with regards to government spending. The public usually has a major influence in shaping the defense spending of a country.

Usually there exists a correlation between the government spending and the public opinions implying that the majority public opinion determines the military spending decisions. This thus implies that the general public plays a key role as far as government spending decisions are concerned.

Therefore, I strongly critique the authors’ findings and that the public opinion has a major influence as far as the domestic and foreign policy of the United States is concerned.

The research by Lawrence R Jacobs didn’t consider the other influences that have an impact with regards to the US foreign policy. Other factor that influences the foreign policy of the United Stated includes foreign trade,foreign aid, intelligence operations among others.

Government officials and their influence on the US foreign policy

The elected officials usually play an important role withy regards to foreign policy. The author of the article in his findings found out that the government leaders have a relatively less influence as far as democracy is concerned. This is however not true as the elected leaders usually have a high influence with regards to the foreign policy. Leaders have a high ability of giving out their voices over responsive issues that concerns the general interests of the citizens.

Leaders have more effective channels upon which they can influence the foreign policy decisions. The leaders are also responsible for maintaining peace in a country and therefore they must ensure that the decisions that they make are conscious.

The author failed to recognize the fact that the business leader that acts on the international level has a strong influence as far as the foreign policy is concerned.

With regards to elected leaders and the foreign policy, the author of the article failed to recognize the role of other leaders in making the United States foreign policy. The other leaders that the author fails to consider includes the religious leader’s e.t.c.Just like the government officials, the religious leaders too have a significant influence as far as the foreign policy is concerned.

Religion plays a key role in making the foreign policy due to the fact that religious communities are widespread in the entire globe. The religions that are engaged in the global level such as Christianity and Muslim are key in determining the foreign policy.

The religious leaders are usually involved in the fight against the violation of human rights as well as mobilizing the members of the public to rise against those regimes that are found to be inconsistent with the religious teachings.

The also provides assistance particularly in developing nations ,they helps to protect the environment ,helps to promote peaceful coexistence among the individuals as well as providing advice on the governments on how they should approach a certain foreign issue.

An understanding of the relationship between public opinion and public policy

A clear understanding of the relationship between public opinion and public policy is important due to the following reasons; the understanding of public opinion and public policy is crucial as it enables us to contribute to the opinion polls. There is a relationship that exists between the public opinion on one hand and the United States public policymaking.

It is impotent for the government officials to be responsive with regards to the citizen’s wishes. The public opinion that is captured by the opinion polls usually has an impact as far as the wishes of the public are concerned. It helps the policymakers as well as the entrepreneurs to act in a different manner.

The political analysts have discovered a correlation between the pubic attitude on one hand and public policies on the other hand. It is often argued that liberal states are characterized with liberal policies whereas the conservative states are characterized with conservative policies.

The understanding of the public opinion with regards to the public policy is important as it enables us to understand the impact that the opinion polls has at micro level. Opinion polls helps in determining the preferred president of a given country.They are thus useful during the election campaigns as they helps o determine the candidate who is likely to emerge the winner.

With regards to the public opinion, it is important to consider the need to be skeptical. This implies that we should be cautious to listen to the voices of the majority and the minority as well.

The politicians are usually concerned with the decisions that affects they day to day politics. In order to predict the effects of the political decisions, it is important to have opinion polls so as to determine if the decision will favor them or bring down their political careers.

The understanding of public policy helps to constrain the behaviors of interest groups as well as that of the policymakers. The two represents government forces that reinforces and interacts each other.Also, both the government and the interest groups affects each other.

In an effort to understand the public opinion, it is however important to distinguish between an effective opinion and a majority opinion or amass opinion. Mass opinion entails the situation whereby the citizens decide to act in the same manner at a particular time. In mass opinion, there is usually no or minimal direct communications and also, people are disengaged from the political system.

An understanding of the public opinion is important because it enables us to understand the real meaning of democracy. It is important to know that democratic states are very peaceful among themselves.Also, democratic states don’t engage in war with countries that are deemed to have autocratic system of governance.

The understanding of the public opinion is important as far as the international relations are concerned. The international governance system is usually carried on in an uncertain environment as a result of the diversity that exists between the various states. This entails that different countries must exercise caution as far as their foreign policy is concerned.

The understanding of foreign policy thus enables a country to examine the internal as well as the external factors that determines their foreign policy agenda so as to cater for the interests of its citizens as well a the citizens of other countries.

The understanding of foreign policy enables a policy maker to understand the foreign policy decision making process. The with regards to foreign policy involves the following key steps; the first step is problem identification.This entails coming up with the reasons behind setting up a foreign policy agenda.

The second step is the goal setting. This involves coming up with objectives which are to be achieved as a result of foreign policy agenda. The third stage involves the establishment of the alternative and finally, the choice i.e. coming up with the foreign policy agenda.

A clear understanding of the public opinion enables us to be competent as far as the issues concerning with foreign policy is concerned. The number of the people who lacks information concerning the world affairs has greatly reduced over the past few years as a result of public opinion.

Many people for instance have been participating in the opinion polls and hence being knowledgeable with regards to the world’s affairs. The businessmen, religious leaders, scholars among others have been advocating on the public to become elite as far as the foreign policy is concerned.

Conclusions

Public opinion forms an integral role as far as foreign policy is concerned. The advancements in technology have brought about an increase in the number of opinion polls that are being carried out. The public awareness on the world’s affairs and in particular, the United States foreign policy been greatly enhanced as a result of the increase in the number of private as well as public opinion polls.

The author’s article was short of key elements that affect the United States foreign place.Also, the author’s view that public opinion does not have much influence with regards to the foreign policy is not convincing since the public opinion is the main factor that influences the foreign as well as the domestic agendas of a nation.

The author’s article also failed to include the important factors that influences the foreign policy of the United States such as special interest and lobby goals.Also,the authors’ view that the epistemic communities i.e. the academy as well as think tanks do not have much influence with regards to the United States foreign policy is not true.Therefore,I strongly critique the authors article.

Bibliography

Jacobs, Lawrence. R, “Who Influences U.S. Foreign Policy?” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005): 107-123.

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