The Price of American Foreign Policy

Congress, the Executive, and International Affairs Funding

By (author) William I. Bacchus

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 September 1997

Length of book:

360 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271025940

An insider's account of how constitutional struggles between the executive and legislative branches interact with budgetary mechanisms to affect the implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

In this first in-depth study of the process by which U.S. foreign policy is funded, William Bacchus draws on more than twenty years' experience in government to analyze the uneasy interplay between the executive and legislative branches as decisions about priorities and policies are made. He begins by examining historical trends in foreign affairs budgeting, then shows how budget proposals are originated in the Executive branch and how they are affected by the complexities of congressional appropriation and authorization, and concludes with a look at "myths" about budgeting and suggestions for improving the system.

Bacchus supports his analysis with case studies that link constitutional issues with the everyday governmental activity of matching limited resources to policy priorities. He reviews not only difficulties of coordination faced by the Executive branch but also Congress's bid for a greater voice in foreign policy, ranging from the Contra Aid hearings to the 1995 confrontations over funding levels and reorganization of executive agencies.

The Price of American Foreign Policy provides a better understanding of the budget process as it affects our ability to carry out an effective foreign policy and demonstrates the need for enhanced mutual trust between the branches of government if our national interests are to be protected.

“This book provides the first analytic framework for understanding the relation between Congress and the Executive branch on foreign affairs budgeting and offers examples which bring its points to light. It is must reading for anyone interested in understanding or influencing the course of American foreign policy.”

—Morton H. Halperin