Foreign Policy Making

January 24, 1975

Report Outline
Foreign Policy Reappraisal After Nixon
Foreign Policy: Congress Vs. Executive
New Factors in U.S. Foreign Policy
Special Focus

Foreign Policy Reappraisal After Nixon

A merican foreign policy has long been a target for public criticism. Recent dissatisfaction has been directed at both specific policies and the way foreign policy is being made. The heady years of the Nixon administration's triumphs have been followed by afterthoughts, disappointments and doubts. Détente with Russia, the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, is in jeopardy, reconciliation with China has been limited, war rather than peace is the outlook for the Middle East, and the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and the peace treaty signed two years ago have ended neither the fighting nor the demand for continued American aid.

Congress, the press and some disgruntled and outspoken bureaucrats in the foreign policy establishment have also been critical of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger's inclination to bypass the agencies and groups traditionally involved in the making of foreign policy. These critics contend that exclusion of the experts in these bodies, reliance on a handful of close advisers, and insistence on secrecy and surprise have been partly responsible for some of the miscalculations in U.S. foreign policy.

In addition to these criticisms, Kissinger is also beset by what many commentators refer to as a growing neo-isolationism in the country. Unlike President Nixon, who made foreign policy his top priority item when he came into office six years ago, his successor has been preoccupied with domestic economic matters. Moreover, Gerald R. Ford inherited a Watergate-weakened presidency whose old dominance of foreign policy is being challenged by Congress.

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