It is often said that voters hold presidents responsible for two things: the economy and foreign policy. Economic performance is generally beyond presidential control, but foreign policy is defined by the president. The White House is justifiably blamed or credited for how it manages relations with the outside world.
How, then, can presidents maximize their chances to achieve successful foreign policies? What kinds of considerations should they bear in mind as they make important decisions for their country? Foreign policy begins with the process of making decisions. This briefing book examines foreign policy decision-making, and offers advice to current and future presidents drawn from fields ranging from political science and history, to psychology and economics. It identifies basic guidelines that presidents should consider when making choices. Such guidelines apply to almost any area of human endeavour, and they are certainly central to choices made in and outside of the Oval Office.
When the strong make mistakes, the weak often suffer. As the strongest country in the history of the world, the United States has a special responsibility to run a sagacious foreign policy. This briefing book will benefit students, policy makers, and the general public.
Introduction: Foreign Policy and the Presidency
1 Misapplied History
3 Pathological Beliefs
Moving Forward: A Dozen Enduring Lessons
A Word on Sources
The books in the Presidential Briefings series provide concise and readable introductions to topics of general interest to students of the presidency. By approaching their subjects from the vantage point of what a president most needs to know, and what we as citizens most need to know about the presidency, these books provide a highly practical and accessible overview of an important subject related to the presidency. This series provides a wonderful opportunity for scholars, whether new or established, to publish concise and authoritative books on a wide range of presidency topics.