114 Glossary

Defining Foreign Policy

balance of power a situation in which no one nation or region is much more powerful militarily than any other in the world

balance of trade the relationship between a country’s inflow and outflow of goods

Cold War the period from shortly after World War II until approximately 1989–1990 when advanced industrial democracies divided behind the two superpowers (East: Soviet Union, West: United States) and the fear of nuclear war abounded

diplomacy the establishment and maintenance of a formal relationship between countries

foreign policy a government’s goals in dealing with other countries or regions and the strategy used to achieve them

free trade a policy in which a country allows the unfettered flow of goods and services between itself and other countries

hard power the use or threat of military power to influence the behavior of another country

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) a cross-national military organization with bases in Belgium and Germany formed to maintain stability in Europe

protectionism a policy in which a country does not permit other countries to sell goods and services within its borders or charges them very high tariffs (import taxes) to do so

soft power nonmilitary tools used to influence another country, such as economic sanctions

United Nations (UN) an international organization of nation-states that seeks to promote peace, international relations, and economic and environmental programs

Foreign Policy Instruments

congressional executive agreement an international agreement that is not a treaty and that is negotiated by the president and approved by a simple majority of the House and Senate

sole executive agreement an international agreement that is not a treaty and that is negotiated and approved by the president acting alone

treaty an international agreement entered by the United States that requires presidential negotiation with other nation(s), consent by two-thirds of the Senate, and final ratification by the president

Institutional Relations in Foreign Policy

two presidencies thesis the thesis by Wildavsky that there are two distinct presidencies, one for foreign and one for domestic policy, and that presidents are more successful in foreign than domestic policy

Approaches to Foreign Policy

containment the effort by the United States and Western European allies, begun during the Cold War, to prevent the spread of communism

isolationism a foreign policy approach that advocates a nation’s staying out of foreign entanglements and keeping to itself

liberal internationalism a foreign policy approach of becoming proactively engaged in world affairs by cooperating in a community of nations

neoconservatism the belief that, rather than exercising restraint, the United States should aggressively use its might to promote its values and ideals around the world

neo-isolationism a policy of distancing the United States from the United Nations and other international organizations, while still participating in the world economy

selective engagement a policy of retaining a strong military presence and remaining engaged across the world


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