America's Foreign Policy Toolkit
Key Institutions and Processes
- Charles A. Stevenson - Johns Hopkins University, SAIS
In this brief text for American foreign policy and national security courses, Stevenson focuses on the institutions and processes of foreign policy, beginning with a look at the historical context and then looking in turn at the tools available to the president, congress, and the shared budgetary tools. The following part, "Using the Tools," looks at the diplomatic, economic, military, intelligence, homeland security, and international institutions instruments. Stevenson concludes with chapters that consider the important constraints and limitation of the U.S. toolkit. Each chapter ends with a case study that allows readers to connect the theory of the toolkit with the realities of decisionmaking.
Highlights of the text's coverage include:
- A sustained analysis of the U.S. Constitution as a response to security threats in the 1780s, providing a strong historical foundation on and springboard for discussion of this basic document in terms of national security powers;
- Comprehensive coverage of the congressional role overseeing all other policy instruments, showing Congress as an active player in all aspects of foreign policy;
- Analysis of the full spectrum of agencies and activities involved in foreign economic policy, covering the numerous organizations involved in foreign economic policy, the weak coordinating mechanisms, and the various processes (sanctions, trade, foreign assistance, direct investment) used as policy tools;
- A consistent framework for analyzing each instrument (authorities, capabilities, personnel, culture, internal factions, and the role of Congress), which makes comparative analyses of U.S. institutions simple and direct;
- An illuminating overview of the budget process through both the executive and legislative branches, acknowledging the budget process as a shared policy tool, with conflict and feedback, rather than as a linear process;
- A discussion of homeland security instruments and international organizations used as policy tools, highlighting the relevance of these new and often overlooked instruments; and
- A survey of recommendations for reform and the difficulties involved, providing possible explanations of foreign policy failures and alternative organizations and processes.
This must-have text for courses on American foreign policy will be a crucial reference that students will keep on the shelf long after the last class.
"At last! A text on the institutions and processes the United States uses to make foreign policy - accessible, clear, and complete. Stevenson focuses on what’s missing in the literature: how the organizations work, what they are like, and how they can be improved, illustrating how the policy sausage gets created and implemented by the world’s most powerful nation. America’s Foreign Policy Toolkit is essential reading for students, faculty, and anyone interested in working in the foreign policy arena."
Voters, pundits, and even officials who should know better would waste fewer words in naive recommendations for foreign policy if they really understood how the complex institutional process of decision and implementation creates, blocks, confuses, and channels possibilities. Yet there is remarkably little first-rate literature that explores these mysteries clearly and comprehensively. Charles Stevenson, drawing on an uncommonly appropriate mix of direct professional experience and analytical incisiveness, fills this gap admirably. America’s Foreign Policy Toolkit manages to be thorough, engaging, reliable, and wise all at once. No other work on this subject can boast such a high level combination of educational virtues."
"America’s Foreign Policy Toolkit is innovative, practical, and written with incredible clarity, making it a most useful resource for practitioners and undergraduates alike. Stevenson goes beyond the mere theoretical framework of foreign policy decision-making to elucidate the basis of how decisions are made, taking the narrative to the next step - how those decision-makers actually carry out their policies."
It is amazing book on America's Foreign Policy. It is beneficial for the students who would like to have detailed analysis on foreign policy.
Unlike other textbooks in American foreign policy, Stevenson gives us fascinating and comprehensive view of American foreign policy decision-making and implementation. Not only does he picture how foreign policy is framed, controlled or even shared by two key institutions, the President and the Congress. He also elucidates how foreign policy is implemented and can be achieved by examing the nature and process of various kinds of intruments. This book is one of the most recommended materials for those who are interested in American foriegn policy.
not suitable for course