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One of the oldest conflicts in the American system of government is that between Congress and the President over the right to formulate and implement foreign policy. Is the President solely responsible for the conduct of external relations? Is the Congress an equal partner? Or does Congress have the right to shape U.S. policy by enacting legislation which proscribes a President's flexibility? These are not just debating points for historians and constitutional lawyers, but critical issues which need to be addressed if we are to see the successful exercise of American diplomacy in the 1980s. Our effectiveness in dealing with the problems ahead, especially U.S.-Soviet competition in the Third World, will depend to a significant degree on our ability to resolve the adversary relationship between the President and Congress.
Fifty-two Americans were taken hostage in Iran on November 4, 1979. Ten days later, in circumstances to be related, President Carter froze all assets of the government of Iran in the United States and under the control of U.S. banks, businesses and individuals outside the United States. This action, and related measures taken later, deprived Iran of the use of more than $12 billion in bank deposits, gold and other property. The President also cut off most export and other transactions between the United States and Iran and asked the U.N. Security Council to vote similar sanctions. U.N. action was blocked by a Soviet veto on January 13, 1980, but other nations gradually reduced their commerce with Iran. As the hostage crisis dragged on, these sanctions deprived Iran of critical supplies and spare parts and forced it into expensive deals with unreliable middlemen.
The recent heated debate over the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes and F-15 fighter components to Saudi Arabia was only one of a number of controversies involving U.S. arms sales. The next weapons transfer which will meet congressional resistance is that of F-16 fighters to Pakistan, a sale which some believe will give a renewed impetus to the arms race on the subcontinent and undermine nonproliferation efforts. Serious questions are also being raised about the wisdom of the planned sale of F-16s to Venezuela, thereby crossing a technological threshold which in the past has restrained the transfer of the most advanced fighter aircraft to Latin America. Proposed new arms supply relationships with Argentina, Chile and Guatemala will draw the ire of those who are concerned about the dropping of past restrictions based upon these countries' human rights records. The Reagan Administration is faced with a tough decision regarding the sale of the FX fighter to Taiwan. Beijing has put Washington on notice that it considers the proposed sale as a "litmus test" of future Sino-American relations. But the same type of symbolism is attached to the sale by Taipei, which would view the failure to sell as a sign of abandonment.
Since World War II there has been a continuing debate on military doctrine concerning the actual utility of nuclear weapons in war. This debate, irrespective of the merits of the divergent points of view, tends to create the perception that the outcome and scale of a nuclear conflict could be controlled by the doctrine or the types of nuclear weapons employed. Is this the case?
INTRODUCTION: Since World War II there has been a continuing debate on military doctrine concerning the actual utility of nuclear weapons in war. This debate, irrespective of the merits of the divergent points of view, tends to create the perception that the outcome and scale of a nuclear conflict could be controlled by the doctrine or the types of nuclear weapons employed. Is this the case?
Since nuclear deterrence began, some of the forces providing deterrence for the West have been stationed in Europe. In the early period, when delivery systems did not yet enjoy intercontinental range, European real estate was essential for America's strategic deterrent. But with new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sea-based nuclear missiles, introduced in the late 1950s, the U.S. nuclear deterrent no longer required bases in Europe: the age of geographic deterrence identity between the United States and its European allies had come to an end.
The history of the Atlantic Alliance is a history of crises. But we must distinguish between the routine difficulties engendered by Western Europe's dependence on the United States for its security, as well as by the economic interdependence of the allies, and major breakdowns or misunderstandings which reveal not simply an inevitable divergence of interests but dramatically different views of the world and priorities. At the present time, complaints from West European leaders about the effects of high American interest rates on their economies, or about President Reagan's skeptical approach to North-South economic issues, belong in the first category. The current controversy in Europe over nuclear weapons belongs in the second, and now confronts the Alliance with one of its most dangerous tests.
Under Charles de Gaulle, French foreign policy as seen from Washington had a "nuisance value" at a time when France's domestic choices were much more in tune with those of her allies and neighbors. Under François Mitterrand, the radical nature of the domestic changes in France (e.g., nationalization of major industries and banks, decentralization of the administration of the country) have virtually changed French foreign policy into a reassuring value. At a time when pacifism is sweeping Northern Europe, and the Federal Republic of Germany in particular, France, with her firmness vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, her nuclear striking force, her strong defense budget and weak pacifist movement, seems an oasis of continuity.
The problem mounts, the experts are in near agreement as to how to resolve it, and yet another President gives it high priority. However, despite all of the above, the United States may fail to enact a new national immigration policy in the near future. The seriousness and care with which Congress is considering the issue are cause for encouragement, but President Reagan is in the process of finding out, as President Carter did before him, that there is little political capital to be made in this policy area.
The United States recently "discovered" Mexico. Potential oil reserves of 200 billion barrels helped focus our attention and sparked interest in forging some kind of special relationship with our southern neighbor. Concrete proposals range from a North American Accord or Common Market to less dramatic package deals that would swap petroleum for increased Mexican access to U.S. markets.
Relations between Canada and the United States have become more strained than at any time in recent memory. There have been many earlier periods of tension, but the policy orientations of the two capitals in late 1981 appear to be far more divergent than in the past. The two governments seem to be on a collision course, in a context that political leaders cannot fully control.
Russia today is a mighty world power, with the largest territory of any state, a population of 260 million, great mineral resources in a resource-hungry world, and a geopolitical position that gives it a large role in both European and Asian affairs. It is a military superpower with intercontinental and intermediate-range nuclear missiles in large numbers, supersonic airplanes, a huge standing army based on universal military service, and fleets in all oceans. It controls an East and Central European empire extending deep into Germany and the Balkans. Its power and influence radiate into Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America.