Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council / Edition 1

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The National Security Council (NSC) is the most important formal institution in the U.S. government for the creation and implementation of foreign and defense policy. The Council's four principal members--the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense--are responsible for incredibly far-reaching decisions regarding war and peace, diplomacy, international trade, and covert operations. Despite its obvious importance, the NSC has been subject to relatively little scholarly scrutiny, and therefore remains misunderstood by most international relations students. Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council provides students with valuable insights into the origins, workings, strengths, and weaknesses of the NSC.
Covering the period from 1947 to 2003, Fateful Decisions features seminal articles, essays, and documents drawn from a variety of sources. The book presents and illuminates several obscure documents regarding the beginning of the NSC and its early years. It then examines the transformation of the NSC from a newly established, and initially ignored, advisory committee to the nation's premier forum for national security deliberations. The selections--written by prominent scholars, journalists, and practitioners--offer revealing coverage of major topics, such as key challenges to the NSC and the role of the NSC in a post-Cold War environment. The articles also discuss the rise of the National Security Adviser to a position of prominence and provide profiles of those who have held the position, including McGeorge Bundy, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Samuel Berger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. Chronicling the performance of the NSC over the years, Fateful Decisions dissects both its successes and its failures--from the Cuban Missile Crisis through the Iran-contra affair, to the current war against global terrorism--and offers reform proposals to improve the Council's performance. It is ideal for courses on the NSC, national security decision-making, and U.S. foreign policy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195159660
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/29/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 857,498
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

George Washington University

University of Georgia

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Table of Contents

Each section begins with an Introduction.
I. Origins
1. The Development of Political-Military Consultation in the United States, Earnest R. May
2. Postwar Organization for National Security, Ferdinand Eberstadt
3. Legislative Debate on the National Security Act of 1947, U. S. Congress
4. The National Security Act of 1947, U. S. Congress
II. Early Years
5. The NSC Under Truman and Eisenhower, Stanley L. Falk
6. Effective National Security Advising: Recovering the Eisenhower Legacy, Fred I. Greenstein and Richard H. Immerman
7. Forging a Strategy For Survival, Henry M. Jackson
8. Organizing for National Security, Jackson Subcommittee
III. Transformation
9. Letter to Jackson Subcommittee, McGeorge Bundy
10. Kissinger's Apparat, John P. Leacacos
11. Presidential Directive/NSC-2, Jimmy Carter
IV. The Modern NSC
12. The National Security Council System After the Cold War, Vincent A. Auger
13. National Security Presidential Directive 1, George W. Bush
V. National Security Advisers: Roles
14. Forum on the Role of the National Security Adviser, Woodrow Wilson International Center and Baker Institute
15. The NSC Adviser: Process Manager and More, Colin L. Powell
16. The Lessons of the Iran-Contra Affair for National Security Policy Making, Cecil V. Crabb, Jr. and Kevin V. Mulcahy
VI. National Security Advisers: Profiles
17. McGeorge Bundy, Kai Bird
18. Henry Kissinger, Marvin Kalb and Bernard Kalb
19. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Dom Bonafede
20. Brent Scowcroft, David Lauter
21. Samuel R. Berger, R.W. Apple, Jr.
22. Condoleezza Rice, Elaine Sciolino
VII. Performance
23. The Cuban Missile Crisis
24. The Transition from the Cold War, George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft
25. Conflict in the Balkans, Eric Moskowitz and Jeffrey S. Lantis
26. The War Against Terrorism, Dan Balz and Bob Woodward
Editors' Introduction
27. America's Departments of State, Bert A. Rockman
28. The NSC Staff as Rogue Elephant, Tower Commission
29. Congress and the NSC, Inouye-Hamilton Committee
IX. Reforms
30. Recommendations on Organizing for National Security, Tower Commission
31. The President and the Secretary of State, Theodore C. Sorensen
32. A New NSC for a New Administration, Ivo H. Daalder and I. M. Destler
33. Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change, Hart-Rudman Report
For Further Reading

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