Title page for ETD etd-08012012-040430

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
  • United States
Date of Defense 1988-02-22
Availability restricted
This 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groups - has been replaced by a divided public, antagonist interest groups, a fragmented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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