THE PUBLIC DIMENSION OF FOREIGN POLICY by David D. Newsom

THE PUBLIC DIMENSION OF FOREIGN POLICY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There may be no country in the world where it is more important to get public approval for foreign policy than the United States, and as Newsom (International Relations/Univ. of Virginia) makes clear in this valuable little book, there may be no country where it is harder to achieve. Newsom, who has served both as under secretary and assistant secretary of state, contrasts the openness of the American system with the limitations on criticism of British and French officials. In no other country have the institutions attempting to influence government achieved the degree of cohesiveness, financial strength, and assertiveness of those in America. Newsom analyzes the role of Congress, the media, lobbyists, think tanks, and advocacy groups in impinging upon an administration's ability to carry out foreign policy. He notes that, just on human rights, a computation of US legislation lists 19 general acts, 13 amendments to foreign assistance acts, and 144 specific restrictions on relations with individual countries considered to be violators of human rights. In considering the role played by the media, he adduces the similarly surprising fact that the cost to a television network of covering a foreign story is $100,000 per day--which alone influences what does and does not get covered. Perhaps the most interesting discussion is that of the relations between the foreign policy establishment and academia, where he is quietly devastating: ""Much of today's scholarship,"" he writes, ""is either irrelevant or inaccessible to policy makers."" He believes this has serious implications for the future, as students trained in these institutions move into foreign policy. A quiet, restrained, but expert and highly professional assessment of the relationship of foreign policy and the public in America.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Indiana Univ.