Presidential approaches to organizing foreign policy mechanisms
Hernandez, Edmund B.
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The organization of foreign policy mechanisms will determine the types of policies a President can create. Presidents organize their administrations using a formalistic, collegial or competitive approach. In order to mange foreign policy a President must develop a balance between the formalistic and collegial approaches. This thesis analyzes how the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations structured their national security organizations and examines their policy decisions towards the Vietnam crisis. Eisenhower used a formalistic approach to create a highly structured organization with defined procedures to review foreign policy issues. Kennedy's style was far less rigid and relied on a high degree of personal interaction and group problem solving. This thesis demonstrates that there was a direct relation between the manner in which the US foreign policy apparatus was structured and the decisions that were made to escalate US involvement in the Vietnam War. This thesis concludes that the formalistic and collegial approaches are complimentary and that a President should utilize a combination of both approaches.
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