Political scientists have long sought to discover where the foreign and the domestic spheres of the presidency connect. Presidents, it is assumed, must balance military needs with political needs, whether those political needs entail gaining domestic support for the president's agenda or maintaining a cohesive foreign coalition. For years, international relations theorists have argued over this: how important is domestic mood and foreign alliances in a president's foreign policy decisions? Realists argue that political needs do not matter when the nation acts on the international stage. They contend that the nation acts as one, unitary actor and all the political infighting and bargaining does not matter when a leader acts in his nation's interest. Liberals, or pluralists, take the opposite position, arguing political needs are not only a part of the scheme, but are central to what a president does. They seek to break down both the decision-making process and the formation of alliances in order to study the political effects of their contributions to military decisions.
[...] Bush's father found himself in an entirely different situation before and during the Gulf War of the early 1990s. The United States had not been attacked, and therefore, public support was not automatically in play nor was international support for U.S. intervention. Military needs and political needs had to be brought together in order for the president to act. When foreign events are not so clearly defined and America's interest is not inherently present, the people have a difficult time judging whether the United States should get involved or not. [...]
[...] Americans, not aware and not interested in the ins and outs of foreign policy, show more affinity toward judging a president's performance based on the outcome of the situation (Hurwitz and Peffley 238-9). It is here that presidents must bring the two sides together. The political needs must be brought up to speed with military needs and presidents must show good faith in such action in order to maintain the balance. President Bush did so during the Gulf War. After building an international coalition and gaining domestic political support for the war, Bush said the sole goal of the operation was to eradicate Kuwait of its Iraqi invaders, adding that his administration had exhausted all diplomatic avenues to resolve the conflict (Drachman and Shank 289). [...]
[...] The day before the Sept attacks, the political talk of the nation was focused on the economy and the political debate was over the size of the Social Security surplus. On Sept none of the politicians or the talking heads on television was concerned with such matters, except to note that they had fallen by the wayside. There was little debate on “what to and the president did not need to make the case for military action in Afghanistan. Because of the attack, everyone was on the same page. [...]
[...] Surely, the world would be a better place if Saddam was not in it, and the U.S. military was ready and able to topple the dictator. But the U.S. effort was also no match for the Iraqi army, which was surrendering by the thousands and being mowed down on the only road from Kuwait to Baghdad. It was being called the “highway of death,” and it was strewn with burning vehicles and dead bodies. Would it have been morally right for the United States to continue the campaign, although it meant slaughtering thousands of Iraqi soldiers? [...]
[...] In the gulf conflict, President Bush balanced the two well explaining the military goals clearly while at the same time placing the situation in politically understandable, moral terms. He also succeeded by keeping faith on both counts. Works Cited Drachman, Edward R. and Shank, Alan “President Bush's Decision to End the Persian Gulf War at 100 Hours.” From Presidents and Foreign Policy: Countdown to Ten Controversial Decisions. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. 273-313. Fleisher, Richard and Bond, Jon R There Two Presidencies? Yes, But Only for Republicans.” The Journal of Politics. Volume 50, Issue 3. 747- 767. Hurwitz, Jon and Peffley, Mark Means [...]
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