Foreign policy actors

De Baripedia

We will describe these different actors and see how they interact over time. First of all, the American foreign policy is characterized by an extremely important device and machinery in so far as one has to deal with a diplomacy that became global at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a multi-sectoral diplomacy that is developing in a whole series of areas being one of the absolutely fundamental elements of the concept of superpower. When we talk about superpower, we often take the politico-military aspects, but there are many others with the capacity to intervene in various fields. This diplomacy is taken care of by numerous professional and private actors.

The State Department is not the only player in American foreign policy dealing with transnational history issues. American foreign policy's multipolar character is the permanent interaction between public and private actors who are not responsible for the diplomatic function. There is an extremely blurred border when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and the distinction between public and private because there is a permanent back-and-forth between the public and private sectors. This phenomenon is a colonization of the public sector by private actors. There is also a proliferation of public institutions whose public nature is sometimes unclear with federal agencies.

One may wonder whether or not American foreign policy is a coherent entity. Even today, the American position is difficult to determine because different actors take the floor and it is difficult to see how they agree. Foreign policy is also permanently between centralisation, i.e. coordination by the state authorities and decentralization by the fact that the administration and government can be complemented or competing or contradicted by other institutions that will move in a different direction. As long as the United States has an increasingly global policy, we are witnessing a diversification of decision-making centers.

The President/Congress diarchy[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Distribution of original powers[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

This diarchy is absolutely fundamental because we have two heads of the executive branch in both domestic and foreign policy. The checks and balances system is a political system that is fundamentally marked by the balance of power. Each power has a counter-power made compulsory by the American constitution to achieve the synthesis between the strong power to fight against external elements and the respect of freedom within to avoid tyranny.

The Powers of Congress[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Congress is the dominant power in the United States at first. Congress is the fundamental element in the American political system at first. It is Congress that has the power to declare war and put an end to it through the ratification of treaties, it gives the army the financial and logistical means to function, from the point of view of the implementation of foreign policy it is it that ratifies the appointments in all federal administrations and in particular the Secretary of State who is a key post. On the other hand, through the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congress and the Senate can deal with a whole series of issues, including the hearing of administrative officials. The Senate and Congress also regulate immigration. It is a fundamental and founding institution that has most of the prerogatives at the beginning of American history.

Powers of the President[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The President only comes second in the Constitution in Article 2[4]. In the American legal culture, a president is a potential tyrant, which is why the president is elected through Congress but can also be dismissed by Congress. He's the commander of the armies. The President can launch a military operation without the repeal of the parliament for a limited period of up to 60 days, after which Congress and the Foreign Affairs Committee must approve it, and that is what happened during the intervention in Kosovo in 1999. This also marks a strengthening of the prerogatives of the US President. In negotiating and signing treaties, he represents the nation. This is one of the things the president has taken over as he goes along, but Congress must then ratify it. From 1789 to 1989 only 21 treaties were not ratified out of more than 1500 signed, including the Treaty of Versailles. It also nominates Secretaries and ambassadors.

Changes in power relations[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

It is both a balance of power and a balance of power from the end of the 18th century to the present day. We are still in a process of this kind with four general ideas:

  1. continuous reinforcement of the powers of the President [see the increase in executive agreements at the expense of treaties]: since the end of the 19th century and until today, there has been a strengthening of the President's powers in relation to the powers of the Senate. As the United States expands and emerges on the international scene, this will be in line with presidential prerogatives in foreign policy. A treaty can be signed as such or as an executive agreement. When considered treaty, it must pass through Congress, otherwise if it is an executive agreement, the signed text does not pass through Congress. The President will ensure that the signed texts are "executive agreements" to bypass the power of the Senate.
  2. in times of crisis, Congress sits behind the president.
  3. The phases of expansion are marked by a preeminence of the executive with strong personalities such as Wilson and Roosevelt.
  4. Since 1980, relations have become increasingly conflictual: there is a balance of power, but these relations have become increasingly conflictual internally and externally since the 1970s and 1980s, with a change in majority more than 90% of the time.

From the American Republic's creation to the end of the 19th century, there was a predominance of Congress in foreign policy, even though Monroe distanced himself from it in the 1804s. There is a hinge between the years 1890 and 1914 where there is a very clear shift in the balance of power marked by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, which breaks down the rather restricted framework of presidential prerogatives. Roosevelt arrogates the mission of "the Americanization of the world..." while Wilson embodies the rise of American foreign policy by travelling in person to the Versailles Conference.

In the inter-war period, there was a continuous increase in the powers of the president. The period from 1919 until the Second World War was marked by a strong confrontation between the President and Congress, which was based on a balance of power between the two institutions. First of all, there is the opposition to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which is, first of all, a vote by the Senate against Wilson rather than against the Treaty of Versailles, reminding us that it is he who has the power to decide whether or not to ratify the treaty. From the 1930s onwards, when Roosevelt arrived, the confrontation between the president and Congress resumed, among other things, on the establishment of the New Deal in domestic politics, but there were strong objections to foreign policy, since Congress passed neutrality laws against Roosevelt's advice.

After these strong oppositions in the 1930s was the time of the Second World War, when Congress stood behind Roosevelt, Arthur Schlesinger called the beginning of the "imperial presidency" until the 1950s when presidential power peaked in foreign and domestic policy.

In the 1950s, there was a change of scene in which Congress regained an advantage with the Vietnam War, which was first disputed by the public and then by the Senate in particular with regard to the expenses it entailed. In 1972 the Case Zablocki Act was passed, requiring the president to consult Congress for any executive agreement to limit his or her capacity. In 1973 the War Power Act was passed, stipulating that the president must seek congressional approval for a commitment of U.S. military troops beyond two months. These are two significant elements of the pendulum reversal.

Beginning in the 1970s, the Senate will embark on an evaluation of federal programs, and in particular federal programs intended for the outside world. After the Second World War, the United States embarked on the implementation of global aid policies. In the 1980s, the Reagan presidency relaunched the Cold War without reference to Congress, a time when much of the initiative fell to the federal government.

The 1990s was marked by a fairly constant confrontation between the presidency of Bill Clinton, who, during almost every term of office, had to deal with a Republican-majority Senate, and therefore American foreign policy was marked by a series of presidential decisions and counter-decisions. There was the intervention in Somalia in 1994, but very quickly Congress refused to continue funding this intervention, leading to the withdrawal of the United States, which led to a failure of the intervention. In 1995, the United States intervened in Yugoslavia at the head of NATO. This intervention is done, but it only took a short time for it to be refused. Beginning in the 1990s, the United States blocked payment of the U.S. contribution to the United Nations decided by Congress, and even today funds are still not paid to the United Nations as a contribution. In 1999, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which was a top priority for Clinton, was refused ratification. During the Clinton presidency, interference between domestic and foreign policy was very much present.

In the decade 2000, in the aftermath of September 11, the Patriot Act was passed to strengthen presidential prerogatives in the fight against terrorism. Between 2001 and 2004, the Congress stands in solidarity with President George W. Bush. The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq could only be possible because the presidential function has regained control over its prerogatives.

There is a clear thread running through the balance of power between the Presidency and Congress. There is a process that has evolved in favour of the presidential pole.

The bureaucratic maze[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

It is the idea that in the implementation of U.S. foreign policy. There are more and more institutions involved in American foreign policy. It is a crucial phenomenon in American history that is the bureaucratic proliferation which is a phenomenon of all major industrial states with a proliferation of bureaucratic and administrative organizations. In order to understand American foreign policy, this dimension must be taken into account.

In the 1970s, Graham Alisson developed the concept of bureaucratic politics. It is an idea that allows us to think about political and state decision-making in the context of a complex decision-making process and rivalry between Departments. This bureaucratic maze is colossal in the United States to illustrate this polyphony of American foreign policy. The long-lasting phenomenon of the rise of the American president is a diarchy between federal administration and Congress.

Departments[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Department of State[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Department of State Organizational Chart.

The Department which is most important from the outset is the State Department because it divides the federal administration in the implementation of foreign policy. In 1789 they were small administrations, while from the 20th century onwards they grew. The Department of State saw its headcount increase from 6 in 1789 to 20,000 in the 1960s. The Secretary of State has six under-secretaries who must negotiate among themselves. Policy planning Staff is the governing body. There are a whole series of floors that make the implementation of this complex policy complex.

In the long run, there is a very traditional State Department administration founded as a traditional diplomacy that is the business of professionals and which has taken a long time to adapt to the new diplomatic realities. It is a rather classic concept of international relations.

This State Department, which functioned in symbiosis with the President at the beginning of the 19th century, will see its relations with the President deteriorate as the President's prerogatives will increasingly be exercised to the detriment of Congress, but also to the detriment of his Secretary of State, who initially became a collaborator rather than an executor. The reports become difficult because the secretary of state has difficulty admitting the strengthening of presidential powers. Gradually, the State Department will be marginalized and competing with other departments that will take more initiatives in foreign policy making.

The Department of Defense[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Department of Defense, which was originally divided into a War Department and a Navy Department, will merge to form the Department of Defense. This is a department that will become more and more important. In the Department of Defense's rise, there are two world wars and in particular the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. In 1945, there was a partial demobilization since there were still other fronts and the Cold War was looming. The War Department, which must be deflated after a conflict, remains important, especially since the signals remain red in a whole host of areas. The Cold War arrived with the vote of the National Security Act, which finally merged the Department of War, Navy and the U.S. Navy and the Department of Aviation in a "super-department" of defense symbolized by the Pentagon[5][6]. In 2009 it was 2 million employees, a budget of 500 billion dollars. During the Cold War 75% of the American administration works for this department. Today, the Department of Defense has taken the lead over the State Department.

Structure of the DoD in March 2012.

Other departments will make the relationship between the United States and the world unique because American foreign policy and expansionism are expressed in other ways in a multiplicity of policy areas.

The Treasury Department[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

U.S. Organizational Chart Dept. of the Treasury.

The Treasury Department becomes extremely important, especially at the time of the Versailles Treaty negotiations. The United States, in the aftermath of the First World War, was to play a financial role, particularly in the economic issues of the inter-war period, with the question of reparations, debts from wars and Allied credits, which were resolved through a number of plans such as the Dawes plan and the Young plan. The development of these plans is largely done with the help of the Treasury Department playing an increasingly important role in American diplomacy as economic issues become increasingly important in international relations. In the aftermath of World War II, the Treasury Department played a prominent role in the Conference of Bretton Woods. From the 1970s onwards, this department increased its role in financial matters during the G8 summits.

The Department of Commerce[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Department of Commerce manages U.S. economic and trade relations with the rest of the world. From the time the American power gained in importance, during the twentieth century its role will increase. The major GATT and WTO negotiations are largely conceived at the Department of Trade.

The Department of Justice[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Considering the recent development of international judicial bodies during the 20th century with the International Court of Justice in particular and the International Criminal Court, the Department of Justice is at the forefront. This department will play a major role in the fight against drug trafficking.

The foreign policy initially conceived at the State Department, as American expansion progresses and the dilatation of its areas of intervention, there is a polarization of the American foreign policy's places of decision.

The National Security Council[NSC]: A State Department?[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

There are other agencies that play a role in the implementation of U.S. foreign policy, and in particular the National Security Council, which was seen as a State Department. The National Security Act created it in 1947. It is a restricted body for the necessary coordination of foreign policy organs in a Cold War context. Its limited composition will grow rapidly. It is an organization that will soon overshadow the Department of State because it has more direct access to the president involved in the implementation of major U.S. foreign policies from the 1960s onwards.

Le NSC après sa réorganisation (2003).png

Intelligence services[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Intelligence services are organizations that have multiplied since the 1910s and 1920s. By the late 1980s, 10 intelligence services were identified in the United States that often competed with each other. In particular, the proliferation of intelligence services has prevented the flow of information about the Pearl Harbour attack leading to the centralisation of services.

Until the Second World War, it was considered that there should not be a single intelligence service that would create a situation close to the German Nazi state. With the Second World War, there was a process of centralization that took place with the creation of the Office of War Information in 1941, which disseminated information and propaganda. Two major pieces of information were created with the Office of War Information [OWI] and the Office of Strategic Services[OSS] in 1942, which dealt with intelligence and espionage. The prerogatives of these two agencies are clearly defined.

Between 1945 and 1947 a dismantling is envisaged but with the advent of the Cold War, the process of centralization will be advanced with the National Security Act which will create the CIA merging the OWI and OSS. The CIA's mission is to collect intelligence, particularly in communist countries, and to conduct a series of covert missions. The CIA reports directly to the National Security Council. In 1961 the CIA will plan the Bay of Pigs operation, which was a failure, but also the Condor operation and a whole series of other things, such as financing contracts in Nicaragua to pay back the Marxist-Leninist regime in place.

Cold War scandals led to the adoption of the Intelligence Oversight Act [IOA] in 1991 to frame the CIA's activities[7]. However, the CIA does not mean the end of other intelligence services. There is official centralization with the creation of the CIA, but in practice the question of intelligence remains decentralized. In addition, there is competition between the FIB, which deals with internal affairs, and the CIA, which deals with external security. When it comes to the fight against terrorism, these two services compete with each other. There are extremely tenuous links between different structures.

Government Agencies[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

It is yet another stage in foreign policy. Government agencies are public or para-public structures that are more or less attached to the Departments being both linked and autonomous. They are federal agencies independent of the Departments or secretariats but take part of their prerogatives from these Departments or secretariats.

American foreign policy is a thousand sheets of paper between extremely different organizations that report to very different people. Control over all of these organizations is not as strong as one might think. There are a multitude of ad hoc and non-departmental structures such as the United States Information Agency [USIA] created in 1953 and integrated into the Department of State in 1999, the United States Agency for International Development [USAID], 1961. Partly integrated into the Department of State after 1989, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency [ACDA] was founded in 1961 and integrated into the Department of State in 1999.

Private actors[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Private actors initially appear to be fairly straightforward but are more complicated than they appear to be. Private actors have a role in U.S. foreign policy. In U.S. foreign policy, private actors are even more important than in other countries. The federal state, in American history, comes second only. Historically, the federal state is weak and gradually asserting itself during the 20th century, the actors having gained in importance will maintain it.

The division between public and private actors is closely linked to the question of general interest. The general interest, the public interest, and the nation's interest is not only in theory embodied by the sovereign. More generally, what defines the general interest in the United States is the balance of power between the various actors in American foreign policy. The American general interest is only the result of the balance of the various forces that are investing in the political field, which makes it possible to explain a number of aspects of American foreign policy.

Private actors participate in foreign policy in three ways:

  • Lobbying: putting pressure on the public authorities to steer foreign policy in a particular direction;
  • through field action: by conducting their "own diplomacy";
  • by expert work: in the construction of foreign policy.

Lobbying in Congress[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Lobbying is particularly active in Congress. Lobbying is an integral part of the American political culture, even being indicated in the Constitution of 1787 as a "right to petition", meaning that every citizen has the right to petition Congress. It is an essential element of the freedom of expression that underpins a lobbying right that will become institutionalized throughout American foreign and domestic politics. Lobbying is built according to the Checks and Balances principle with the idea that everyone can express their opinion and the one who can mobilize more in their favour wins. The general interest was the result of a sum of interests representing the lobbying system.

Lobbying is first and foremost a practice that will be legally regulated from the 1940s onwards in order to avoid a certain number of excesses, then legally recognized as such in the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946 and supplemented by the Lobbying disclosure Act of 1995, which determines precisely which groups are accredited to Congress. It's a series of interest groups that have been represented by specialized firms in Washington.

There are three types of organisations and lobbies working in foreign policy at the Congress.

  • NGOs: like Human Rights Watch;
  • economic lobbies: all trade union associations such as the American Chamber of Commerce or employers' associations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the AFL-CIO. The Congress will be approached by a series of large associations representing groups from the production sectors to represent the interests of their corporate branches;
  • Ethical groups: practically all diasporas have their own lobby group in Congress, such as the Israelis who will push for the implementation of a foreign policy in favour of Israel, the Cuban lobby, Armenians, etc.

Lobbyists are not necessarily of private origin. The federal administration sometimes arouses a number of lobbies to override Congress, such as the American Israel Public Committee and administration to support the Eisenhower administration in implementing a foreign policy in favour of the Israeli state or the Cuban lobby in the Reagan administration to tighten immigration policy.

Action on the ground[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Lobbying is only one element of the action of government actors, much of this work is done on the ground. From a transnational perspective, these actors act alongside, outside, against, parallel to the administration. By acting in parallel, they act outside of state boundaries and the state context. Non-governmental actors are not in contact with countries, the border issue is not of particular interest to them. Their latitude of action is not that of the American government, which is generally more flexible and responsive to events. It is questionable whether these non-state actors are completely independent or structurally dependent on the US state. No U.S. non-governmental organization is completely independent of the U.S. government, nor do they have the same understanding of the national interest as the state interest.

A host of parallel organisations conducts foreign policy. Protestant missions throughout the world, for example, have both their own specificity, acting in some way, but above all, there are structures that are organizations that are evangelized movements promoting at the same time an Anglo-Saxon way of life and values, in particular constituting a significant strike force throughout the 19th century.

The great philanthropic foundations that developed from the end of the 19th century onwards are implementing philanthropic diplomacy throughout the 20th century. Foundations are organizations that set up humanitarian campaigns in Latin America, Asia and Europe that are both campaigns for the eradication of diseases and at the same time do so with an American apparatus that helps modernize public health facilities. It's a projection of American foreign policy. These large organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation in the inter-war period, the Ford Foundation in the Cold War, conduct a true diplomacy with substantial funds.

During the First World War, NGOs developed such as CARD in the interwar period and with refugee aid committees. Between 1975 and 1988 will be set up Watch-Human Rights Watch and in 1993 will be founded Transparency International. They are humanitarian organizations that will act in particular in the First World War. These organizations are part of a global projection of the United States into the world embodying a number of principles.

The industrialists and bankers led a banking diplomacy in the inter-war period, with the establishment of loans that allowed a number of post-World War I reconstruction in coordination with the State Department. The role is so important that they are more expansionist than the U.S. government itself because their financial interests are not the geopolitical interests of the U.S. government at the time, particularly in order to penetrate a number of banking markets.

Institutions of expertise: think tanks[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

This is one of the originalities of the American political system and American foreign policy. Expertise plays a major role in U.S. foreign policy since, at the end of the 19th century, the idea was to base political decision-making on precise, scientific and objective data and, finally, the decision maker had to rely on scientists to build his or her foreign policy and decision-making. The United States emerged as a world power at the end of the 19th century. The idea is that they must build a global foreign policy, so they must have instruments to steer this policy so that they can intervene in all geographical areas. It is the idea of having the instruments at your disposal that allow you to intervene everywhere and at any time, particularly by having at your disposal an important scientific expertise.

With the issue of think tanks, we are in a distinction between private and public actors, extremely blurred because, in the end, think tanks are there to make the link between the public and private spheres and, in general, between the academic world, which is a provider of knowledge, and the political world, which needs knowledge to carry out its policy and concrete actions. It is the idea of bridging the gap and providing usable knowledge. The think-tank system is an academic type of knowledge but at the same time it must be usable by the political world. Sometimes, they are private organizations, sometimes public, sometimes public, sometimes both with a mixed character often falling under their financing. People are both public servants in the federal administration, sometimes private academics, sometimes both, there is institutionalized permeability. Think tanks are a foreign policy provider being a component of the Foreign Policy Establishment that represents an environment that is a small group that makes American foreign policy.

There are several generations of think tanks.

First Generation[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Stained glass window dedicated to Andrew Carnegie in the National Cathedral.

The first generation appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace [CEIP] founded in 1910 as one of the many organizations founded by Carnegie Magna Steel Magna in the United States with the aim of promoting international law worldwide. Not only is it an organization that develops a whole series of studies on what international law is, it also supports a whole series of institutions that develop international law. The Court allowing arbitration established after the Hague Conference is created with funds from Carnegie. The establishment of the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1921 will also be supported. The foundation also lobbies American political and legal circles to bring the United States into a wide range of international circles. This foundation is dominated by the great barons of the Republican Party, highlighting these organisations' hybrid character.

Elihu Root in 1902.

The Council on Foreign Relations was established in 1921 at the initiative of Elihu Root. It was created in reaction to the refusal to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which divides a large part of the American political class. Finally, there is a whole internationalist faction of American political and academic circles that argues that the rejection of the Treaty of Versailles must be counterbalanced by inserting the United States as much as possible into the international arena through the development of solutions. Initially, the Council on Foreign Relations reflected on the United States' place in the international system.

From 1922 onwards, the journal Foreign Affairs was created to develop expertise on these issues. During the Second World War, as early as 1939 - 1940, the Council on Foreign Relations worked for the Foreign Department of State, launching a series of studies called "War and Peaces Studies", which brought together 682 reports, analysing what the post-1945 world would be like and how American foreign policy in the post-1945 world would look like. One of the main persons in charge of this programme is John Foster, who in 1953 became Secretary of State for Eisenhower. The Council on Foreign Relations is becoming an important political laboratory for foreign policy.

The Institute of Pacific Relations was established in 1925. It is an institution that brings together private and public actors from the United States which is a kind of federation of different centres of expertise located in the Eastern United States and whose different centres are coordinated by the American section being a semi-public, semi-private mixed structure. This institute deals with geopolitical issues in the Pacific region, including the creation of Pacific Affairs magazine in 1926. If this institute deals with the Pacific region, it is no coincidence that after the First World War, the Pacific was a geographical area for American foreign policy, hence the idea of benefiting from precise expertise on geopolitical issues and being able to feed the circle of political decision-makers on what is happening in these regions.

The Committee for Economic Development was founded in 1942 during the Second World War. It is one of those multiple institutes of expertise being created during this period and which will be working on the post-war economic order and the reorganization of the world economy, in particular the Treasury Department, which will influence the attitude of the role of decision-makers in the Bretton Wood Conference which provides the framework for the post-war economy. Work will also be developed, including the genesis of the Marshall Plan. One of the conclusions dreaming of these studies is that part of Europe is going to be completely destroyed and will need heavy funding to support their economies.

Second Generation[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The second generation appears after the Second World War and with the Cold War. Of course, one thing distinguishes them: the Cold War context is quite different from the post-World War I and wartime context.

The legacy is the context left by the Second World War and the Cold War, which will be the promotion of scientific issues and the important role of science in the war. The scientific questions will produce arguments but also guide policy, particularly the Bretton Woods Conference and the post-war conferences, where economists played a fundamental role.


The organizations are much more institutionalized than in the years 1910-1920, tending to become consulting firms under contract to the federal government. Links are institutionalized with contracts and the federal government will commission studies on specific topics. This is the case of the RAND Corporation created in 1948.

The RAND Corporation is a product of the Cold War context, highlighting the permeability between public/private and quasi-institutionalized, since the RAND Corporation is the result of an agreement between Douglas and the U.S. Air Force. The RAND Corporation is going to work on researching new weapons in the framework of the arms race between the United States and the USSR. The objective is to enable the United States to maintain an advance on nuclear weapons. It is also a matter of knowing the impact of chemical and nuclear weapons on human beings and the environment. The RAND Corporation is also working to develop what will become the doctrine of deterrence, which is at the heart of the concept of balancing terror that has become the centre of geopolitical opposition in the heart of the Cold War. Mutual assured destruction[MAD] is the fact that if an opponent attacks, the damage he will suffer as a result of the riposte is so great that he will not carry out his attack. It is the idea that the United States has an increasingly important nuclear arsenal but that it should not be used, otherwise destruction would be too great. The systematization of reality and doctrine is largely due to the Rand Corporation. A division of the social sciences, headed by Hans Speier, is looking at propaganda issues to ensure that they impact the target countries.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies was established in 1962 as a bipartisan think tank specializing in safety issues.

Logo PNAC.gif

The Project for a New American Century[PNAC] created in 1997 lived until 2006. This think tank is clearly labelled and linked to the neoconservative movement of the Republican Party. Its objective is to promote comprehensive American leadership from a political and military standpoint to reinvent its leadership in the context of a new world order. The founders of this think tank are well-known people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowit. This project brings together politicians as well as academics like Robert Kagan and publicists like William Kristol.

The priority objective of the NACP is to reshape the geopolitical map of the Middle East. This is the context of the late 1990s when the Gulf War took place, Iraq was expelled from Kuwait, and the idea is to bring democracy by force if necessary but also end the First Gulf War by bringing down Saddam Hussein. This program will be set up under the Bush administration, and these personalities will become the driving force behind the implementation of this program set up by the NACP. With the return to power of a certain number of people, the theorized project within this think tank's framework becomes George Bush's political line facilitated by the September 11 terrorist attack that changed the cards in the American foreign policy that allowed the state official doctrine. The bridge is also opaque between public and private with Dick Cheney who is vice-president at the same time as he has interests in Halliburton, a company that will be awarded oil contracts in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War.

Institutions of Expertise: Private Actors in the Federal Administration[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

They are not institutions as such, but actors working closely with the federal government in a range of specific areas. The Inquiry that emerged in the years 1917-1919 is a whole staff of experts who came with Wilson to the peace conference and worked for two years on Europe's political reshaping issues, bringing together historians, economists, anthropologists, linguists and demographers in anticipation of what the United States' participation in peace will be through a series of questions and studies. The second most important body in the American delegation is the Inquiry.

The Second World War brought the same process to the forefront, but in a tenfold increase. From the beginning of the war, a whole series of experts were mandated to work on many issues. They are in particular emigrants from the European intellectual community who will work in the federal administration during the whole war. The center of all this work is the OSS with the Research and Analysis Branch, which is first a more or less independent branch and then integrated into the Department of State in 1945. In 1941, the Division of Special Research was created. At the end of the Second World War, part of it went to universities and part to the State Department. At the moment when the CIA is going to be created, some of the academics will play an important role in it. Large departments also employ private actors such as the State Department working with institutionalized think tanks but will hire a number of people as the departure from the defense. It can be considered that the federal administration is at the top of the decision-making process, but it can also be considered that a number of private actors colonizes the federal administration.

Institutions of expertise: universities[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Universities, which are privately owned, play an important role in the production of expertise that forms a partnership with the federal government. The issue of national security in the United States is a priority objective. Especially culturally, the notion of security is very important in understanding U.S. foreign policy, but the role of scientific knowledge in preserving national security plays an important role. This is a post-war reality, particularly in the context of the Cold War.

Area studies are a whole series of interdisciplinary studies that cover specific geographical eras, combining historical, political and linguistic aspects in order to understand certain geographical areas. They are interdisciplinary departments. Expansion into American universities is closely linked to the emergence of the United States in international relations. These specialties guide American foreign policy. These disciplines are closely linked to the geopolitical context.

These area studies began timidly in the inter-war period but the Second World War gave them considerable expansion as the United States reached the status of a great power and area studies provided the framework for the United States to shape its global policy. These are structures in the 1930s and World War II financed by private foundations and which after the Second World War, these were to be financed by intergovernmental funds. There is a direct continuity between the OSS and the study areas. Within the framework of the OSS, specialists working in certain regions, once demobilized, will find jobs in universities that are starting to create area studies departments. The major areas where area studies are developing are, first of all, Russia because it is quite clear that there is a need for the federal administration to know its enemy. The development of all these specialists provides expertise on regions of potential interest to the federal government.

The issue of psychology and propaganda in the Cold War context is central because it is a geopolitical war and a war of propaganda, culture, and messages. The two powers know full well that they will not go to war with each other. Propaganda warfare is an important instrument of the Cold War. Psychologists will be mobilized in the implementation of American Cold War policy to decode and target Russian propaganda.

Through the question of private actors and expertise, it is clear that, depending on the context and on both sides of the two wars, government agencies and the federal agency have played a very important role in the role of these disciplines, which does not mean that the academic disciplines subsumed with the political field, the field of knowledge production, which is hardly independent of the political field and vis versa.

Annexes[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  • Casey, Steven. "Selling NSC-68: The Truman Administration, Public Opinion, and the Politics of Mobilization, 1950-51*." Diplomatic History 29.4 (2005): 655-90.

References[modifier | modifier le wikicode]