Campbell, John Franklin
October 1970
Foreign Affairs;Oct70, Vol. 49 Issue 1, p81
This article explores the impact of foreign affairs bureaucracies on the foreign policy under U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration. Two conflicting strands of diplomatic theory which have been interwoven in the fabric of U.S. postwar foreign policy will be examined. The first, more traditional theory holds that power is the main engine of international relations, and ideology is a secondary force. Foreign policy, therefore, proceeds by rules different from those which govern the domestic policies of a democracy. Peace is thought to depend on negotiation that respects the sovereignty of separate states and works to maintain balances of power among them. A rival theory emerged early in discussion of the more active foreign policy commenced in 1947 and the reorganizations which accompanied it. Ferdinand Eberstadt of the Navy Department, who drafted the plan for a National Security Council, urged the need for waging peace, as well as war. The plan was championed by military men who felt that the U.S. had entered a revolutionary new age which rendered traditional diplomatic methods obsolete. Massive mobilization of resources, weapons technology and a battle for men's minds were the keys to the future of world politics. An analysis by Henry Kissinger,the U.S. President's assistant for national security affairs, is as accurate in 1970 as it was in 1966. What has been lacking thus far is a plan of reform designed to correct the known deficiencies of the system. Although the post-war period of foreign policy has come to an end, the institutional forms that emerged in that earlier era are still very much in existence. The continuance of those forms, devised in haste and accident more than 20 years ago, undercuts the announced purposes of President Nixon's foreign policy. If an era of negotiation is ever to get off the ground, policy changes abroad must be accompanied by bureaucratic reform at home.


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