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Structural Dysfunction in Foreign Policy

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

Diplomats, academics and other foreign policy experts who visit the U.S. are often struck by the quality and size of the foreign policy community. It is, therefore, even more puzzling and upsetting that such a smart, large and vibrant community of foreign policy experts consistently produces such uncreative frequently, unsuccessful and often dysfunctional policies, leading to an expensive network of military bases, poorly thought out wars, diminished leverage will both allies and adversaries and failure to take meaningful leadership on issues of global import such as climate change. U.S. foreign policy is trapped by the illogic of its bureaucracy, an unwillingness to disaggregate what is desirable from what is possible and a view of the U.S. role in the world that is not only inaccurate, but so deeply held that it is rarely seriously challenged even in an otherwise very deliberative foreign policy community.

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Academic Units
Harriman Institute
Published Here
October 26, 2011