Norton, The post concludes with a reponse by author Bruce W. Jentleson Duke University. With the previous two editions of American Foreign Policy established on the reading lists of colleges and universities across the world, in this third edition, Jentleson sets out the challenges facing US Foreign Policy in light of the most recent global developments.
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Norton, The post concludes with a reponse by author Bruce W. Jentleson Duke University. With the previous two editions of American Foreign Policy established on the reading lists of colleges and universities across the world, in this third edition, Jentleson sets out the challenges facing US Foreign Policy in light of the most recent global developments. These concepts are categorised in relation to orthodox international relations theories, international systems, and by method Coercive, Diplomatic, Economic or Political.
All are linked both to their source and to the relevant chapters they relate to in the book. The book is divided into two parts; the first examines the historical context of Foreign Policy and introduces the major theories of international relations.
The anatomy of the US decision making process is outlined in relation to the major national and global institutions, as well as bureaucratic and non state actors, involved in formulating policy. It is part II of the book that has received the most revision. This is not surprising given that it covers the more evolving issues such as Iraq, peace in the Middle East, WMD proliferation, globalisation, global terrorism and the yet to be resolved conflict between unilateralism, military intervention and democracy promotion.
The chapter ends with a call for humanitarian intervention to remain a credible option in a post-Iraq climate of conflict-aversion. No book is flawless and there are one or two issues that, perhaps understandably given the huge scope of this edition, receive sparse attention. The gravity of the global AIDS epidemic and its impact on core Foreign Policy considerations is, for example, well stated.
Coverage of economic sanctions is, on the whole, detailed and convincingly linked to power politics and the promotion of human rights and democratisation. I was surprised, however, that in a book that aims to establish a framework for US diplomatic history and then apply it to the post-Cold war world, there was little contemplation of how the end of the Cold War changed the geo-political dynamics of sanctions and prompted an increase in their use.
It may have been worth identifying the efforts of those who have sought to quantify, according to set criteria, how successful sanctioning actions have been. The difficulty in establishing criteria for sanctions success, and distinctions between their strategic and tactical application, could have been better stated. Whilst the scale of the challenge, and the disparate economic, political, private and inter-government interests that require balancing in order to meet it, are rigorously elucidated, the US security implications of environmental changes are only mentioned in passing p.
I suspect that students may ask exactly how future conflicts can be prevented or resolved in reference to ecological policies or consideration of climate change. It is also worth pointing out that the conflict in Sudan is correctly cited as economic-ecological in origin. The book is so well organised that it covers all major issues, doctrines, documents and theories in over pages without the reader feeling overwhelmed. It is also incorporates a useful selection of writings by major political figures Kissinger, Gorbachev, Kofi Annan and academics Fukuyama, Ikenberry, Huntington.
Overall, students will be hard pushed to find a better core textbook to accompany their studies. Pitch the book too high and the majority will struggle to be able to use the text in any meaningful way; pitch it too low and you run the risk of alienating those who are looking for a source that explains new and complex facts and arguments in a lucid, cogent and accessible way. This is the making of foreign policy through institutions and amid societal influences, in other words, the role and impact of the myriad actors who inhabit the American political system p.
American Foreign Policy has several demonstrable strengths. To begin with, its use of large amounts of varied literature and sources including extracts from a range of primary material gives it depth, credibility and colour. As for tutors, those already familiar with the subject will be pleased to see the inclusion of some if not all of their current favourites. Combined, these pack a powerful punch. This would serve as an introduction to the non-traditional or soft security threats that are discussed more comprehensively in Chapter Coverage of the International Criminal Court p.
Finally, the concept of pre-emption is discussed in a number of places, but could be explained more clearly in order to draw out the differences between what is widely regarded as being legal providing certain criteria are met and George W. These are admittedly petty observations and do in no sense detract from what is a succinct yet detailed offering. American Foreign Policy is, above all, accessible. It is an invaluable guide and comes highly recommended.
By Harsh V. Given the tumultuous times that American foreign policy seems to be passing through at the moment, such a historical and analytical narrative helps to situate the current debates in a broader perspective.
This allows the reader to analyse the issue of US national interests in a broader analytical perspective by making the often ambiguous concept of national interest more comprehensible. It is a wide-ranging survey of twenty-first century foreign policy agenda that deftly brings to the fore the complex choices the US as the sole global superpower has to make in an increasingly uncertain world. Three new pedagogical features — Historical Perspectives, International Perspectives, Theory in the World — introduced in this edition of the volume are particularly noteworthy for what they bring to our understanding of US foreign policy.
While theories are needed to make sense of the information at our disposal, good theories cannot be constructed in the absence of due knowledge about the empirical reality. The dichotomy between theory and practice is a fallacious one and this book makes this point with great force by reminding the reader of the policy implications of various theories and concepts. It has been argued by many that the Bush Administration has revolutionised the US foreign policy in light of the events of September 11, Some have attributed it to the unipolar global order in which the US retains its pre-eminence in almost all spheres while others have underlined the ideological proclivities of the Administration of George W.
There is an overriding perception today that the events of September 11, have reoriented the American foreign policy priorities, perhaps forever. This book by covering a vast expanse of US foreign policy shows that the above notion is not quite accurate. The structural foundations of the US foreign policy remain, by and large, the same. Examined carefully, one finds that even the notion of preventive war is not all that revolutionary after all.
If I have a small quibble with this volume, it is that it does not make the theoretical distinction between international politics and foreign policy very clear.
As Jentleson clearly demonstrates that there are a number of theories of foreign policy that give us great leverage over foreign policy issues. It would have been useful to have had a section on what theories of foreign policy were to enable the students to determine the difference between International Relations theories and foreign policy theories and what each of these bring to the table in so far as our understanding of US foreign policy is concerned.
However, since this volume is primarily aimed as a teaching tool for undergraduates, this perhaps might be too much to ask for in what remains a benchmark text. This volume is an innovative and nuanced approach to the study of US foreign policy. By seamlessly blending historical and conceptual analysis, it offers students a substantive foundation to build on.
Moreover, by being so compelling and accessible, it sets the standard for texts on the subject. By Andrew Schwartz, Brown University The book succeeds as a textbook for an introductory international relations or foreign policy course.
The main strength of the work is the close and consistent connections made between theory and real world events. Jentleson makes a very clear effort in this regard, drawing, as he notes, from his own experiences in the policy arena. The examples chosen are, quite frequently, extraordinarily current, which makes the text much more engaging for readers to young to remember the events on which many classic discussions of theory are based.
Of course, in the strength of the book lies its weakness as well. By emphasizing the practical applications of foreign affairs theories, the theories themselves are occasionally presented as mere caricatures of themselves.
As a result, the nuances that make a theoretical study of international relations entertaining and exciting are overlooked, and a certain type of reader is left unfulfilled. One mechanism designed to correct this dearth of theoretical depth is the inclusion of scholarly works within the textbook itself. Jentleson does an admirable job of returning to this framework consistently throughout the work, emphasizing the construct as an organizing method for students just beginning to take an in-depth look at foreign policy.
The discussion of domestic factors is one of the real strengths of this work. This treatment is more inclusive than most, and is the main contribution of the work to the wide collection of foreign affairs textbooks. Jentleson recognizes five main domestic factors that shape foreign policy decision-making, and does a superb job of explaining the specific effects of each factor. The dynamics of Presidential-Congressional relations — and the subsequent impact on treaty formulation and the appointment of foreign policy officials — are presented with clear examples.
Jentleson also discusses politics within the Executive branch weaving in theories of leadership and of bureaucratic functioning , the proliferation of foreign policy interest groups within the US, the effects and tendencies of the domestic news media, and the trends and currents of public opinion.
Each of these factors is illustrated with practical examples. In Chapter 2 these examples are of the historical variety, whereas a similar and equally strong section in Chapter 6 provides evidence of a more contemporary nature. This focus on recent happenings in Chapter 6 certainly makes for easier reading and comprehension by students, especially at an introductory level. The strength of the section — in both of its iterations - lies not only with the sweeping breadth with which Jentleson examines the domestic inputs to foreign policy formulation but also in the depth to which each factor is explored and explicated.
Following the traditional tour of American foreign policy history, debates, theory, and practice over the last years certainly a difficult undertaking in thousands of pages, let alone the two hundred that Jentleson uses here , the work turns to the present and future of US foreign policy. It is here that the main strengths of the book lie. Jentleson begins with a discussion of the similarities and differences between a multilateral and unilateral foreign policy viewpoint, and does a very successful job of situating this debate in the policies of the Bill Clinton and George W.
Bush presidencies. There is a brief discussion of the theoretical points of these two schools of thought, but Jentleson quickly shifts the focus to the practical application of the ideologies. Even the theoretical sections of the discussion are laced with quotations from the likes of Condoleezza Rice and Richard Haass, as well as excerpts from key foreign policy statements made by the Bush and Clinton administrations. The expected essential quotations from Mearsheimer, Krauthammer, Nye, Keohane, and the other heavy hitters are also woven into the discussion, but in such a way as to maintain a more practical, less theoretical treatment of the debate.
This makes for a discussion of overarching theory that is comfortingly grounded in real-world events. However, as an introductory text intended for a wide range of students — from those that will go on to study International Relations or Political Science to the Biology student taking the course to better understand current events — this section does provide a useful and interesting summary of one of the foremost debates in foreign policy.
In all, that is what this text does best: provide a worthwhile summary of the theory and practice of American foreign policy that is accessible to readers approaching it from many different viewpoints and interest levels. As an introductory text, then, it is certainly a success. It certainly has the capacity to start students on the road to a better understanding of and appreciation for American foreign policy — which, for an introductory text, is a very good place to start.
I especially appreciate the reviewers picking up on my motives and intentions for writing this book. In these and other respects I see our role as helping our students learn how to think, not telling them what to think. This can be tricky in a subject like American foreign policy. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. Army War College on both the second edition and this third one. In a similar way I have tried not to be parochial.
The key is taking this approach and having this perspective, and bringing out ways in which American foreign policy itself at times has been parochial, without lapsing into the trap oneself.
The reviewers did not seem to see much parochialism, but if any other colleagues do please convey it. The reviewers also address, appreciatively as well as critically, key challenges and at times trade-offs writing such a book poses. Perhaps the greatest challenge is that our subject matter does not stand still for the life of an edition of a book. The concerns Professors Schwartz and Pant raise about whether IR theory is treated fully enough and linked clearly enough to foreign policy are well taken.
The treatment is necessarily limited but it could be richer; e. An inherent trade-off is breadth vs. It is important to include as many of the issues on the contemporary foreign policy agenda as possible, while also providing some depth of treatment.
American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century / Edition 5
Roundtable Review: Bruce Jentleson's "American Foreign Policy"
Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy
American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century