Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Wasser, Iring URN etd-08012012-040430 Title An analysis of American foreign policy :a case study of the pipeline sanctions against the Soviet Union Degree Master of Arts Department Political Science Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Shaiko, Ronald G. Committee Chair Rich, Richard C. Committee Member Taylor, Charles Lewis Committee Member Keywords
- United States
Date of Defense 1988-02-22 Availability restricted AbstractThis thesis focuses on the following questions: What accounts for U.S. foreign
policy? Where is causation located in the foreign process? What changes have taken
place in this process over the past 20 years and what are its present characteristics?
In providing answers to these questions I refer to James Rosenau’s pretheory, a
widely employed theoretical framework for the analysis of foreign policy. Rosenau
identified five interrelated variable categories which together determine the foreign policy
behavior of the United States. He assigned relative potencies to the variable categories
thereby ranking them according to their explanatory power. In this thesis, an adapted
version of Rosenau’s pretheory was used for the analysis of the first major foreign policy
crisis of the Reagan administration, the Soviet pipeline sanctions. This foreign policy
episode proved to be an excellent illustration of how changes in the domestic and external
environment have caused a transformation of U.S. foreign policy in the past two
decades. It was found that the domestic foundation of U.S. foreign policy - congressional
bipartisanship, executive branch unity, a supportive public and the backing of interest
groups - has been replaced by a divided public, antagonist interest groups, a fragmented
Executive, and an assertive Congress. These domestic changes were accompanied by
external changes, especially the declining ability of the United States to control its external
environment. These factors placed constraints on an independent U.S. foreign policy
and most of them proved to promote continuity rather than change in the foreign
policy behavior of the United States.
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