The Price of American Foreign Policy: Congress, the Executive, and International Affairs Funding

In This Review

The Price of American Foreign Policy: Congress, the Executive, and International Affairs Funding

By William I. Bacchus
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997
343 pp. $55.00
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That micromanagement, fragmentation, and partisanship in Congress is found wanting by Bacchus, a longtime government servant, is not terribly surprising, but he also insists that the budgetary process of the executive branch could stand considerable improvement and suggests a variety of sensible reforms to bring rationality and coherence to it. With funding for international affairs having fallen by nearly half in real terms since 1985, the need for coherence in the budgetary process is clear, though it is doubtful that such reforms would be especially meaningful if representatives continue to be willing to demagogue the issue before the public. It does not help that the public, as the opinion polls show, is inexpressibly ignorant with regard to the real levels of foreign aid. "Billions for defense, not one cent for diplomacy" -- such is the higher wisdom now prevailing, before which appeals to reason and experience seem impotent.