In This Review

The Public Dimension of Foreign Policy
The Public Dimension of Foreign Policy
By David D. Newsom
Indiana University Press, 1996, 304 pp.

Newsom, who served in the Foreign Service for 35 years and is currently a professor at the University of Virginia, examines the interplay between government and the press and the role of think tanks, lobbies, academia, and Congress. He has interesting things to say about the pressures on State Department spokespeople -- it seems a wonder, after reading this account, that they do not obfuscate more than they do -- and he raises important questions about the responsibility of the press, the influence of money, and the irrelevance of academics. The latter he sees as awash in specialization and jargon, burdened by models and theories, and writing what appears to be English but is nevertheless unintelligible to English speakers. His mostly descriptive approach, though informative, is burdened with a stylistic blandness, making for a book that is digestible but not particularly appetizing.