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Ideas, Bureaucratic Politics, and the Crafting of Foreign Policy

Author(s): Daniel W. Drezner


Source: American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 733-749
Published by: Midwest Political Science Association
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Politics,
Ideas,Bureaucratic and
ofForeign
theCrafting Policy
DanielW.Drezner University
ofChicago

There are several mechanisms


throughwhichideas are supposed to
J deashavetakenon a renewed
tionsliterature.
prominence rela-
in theinternational
Thereareseveralmechanismsthroughwhichideas are
influencepreferencesand outcomes, supposedto influencepreferences and outcomes,but one ofthemost
but one ofthe most important is that important is thattheyareimplantedintoinstitutions. Scholarsthatempha-
ideas are embedded intoinstitutions. size constructivism (Finnemore1996; Checkel1997), epistemiccommu-
This presumes thatonce idea-infused nities (Hall 1989; Haas 1992), or other approaches (Goldstein 1993;
institutionsare created, theywillsur- Goldsteinand Keohane 1993) have highlighted the role of institutionsin
vive and thrive.Bureaucraticpolitics pursuingideationalagendas.
suggests thisoutcome is farfrom Whilethisis a plausibleexplanationforhow ideas persistand deter-
certain.This articletakes a firstcut at mine foreignpolicy,it is incomplete.Nothingis said about the strategies
examininghow idea-infused,or 'mis- theseinstitutions mustpursuein orderto surviveand thrivein a worldof
sionary"institutions,surviveand competingideas and institutions. Such an explanationassumesthatonce
thrivein a worldof bureaucraticpoli- idea-infusedinstitutions are created,the storyis over.The bureaucratic-
tics. Itsuggests thatmissionaryinsti- politicsparadigmsuggeststhatthestoryis just starting. Bloomfieldnotes,
tutionsface a tradeoffbetween sur- "Foritis thenthatan idea,howevermorallypowerfuland howeverauthen-
vivingand thriving. Agencies thatare ticallygroundedin thenationalpoliticalepistemology, encountersthein-
insulatedfromotherbureaucracies struments, theforces,and thefallible(or obstreperous)humanbeingswho
have a betterchance of surviving,but implement(or thwart)... foreignpolicyprograms"(1982,2).
are unlikelyto influencethe broad How do idea-infusedinstitutions surviveand thrive?How successful
contoursof policy.The reverse is also aretheyat promotingtheirideasaftertheirpoliticalsponsorspass fromthe
true;embedded agencies have a scene?This articlewill arguethattheplacementof institutions in thefor-
much lowerchance of keeping their eign-policystructure helpsto determinetheirabilityto surviveand thrive,
ideationalmissionintact,but ifthey but in contradictory ways.Idea-infusedor "missionary"institutions pos-
do survive,theirodds ofthriving are sessingstructural insulationfromtheinfluenceof otherorganizationsare
greater.These hypotheses are exam- morelikelyto survivein a mannerconsistent withtheirfoundingideas.In-
ined by comparingthe evolutionof the
sulationpermits agency to develop an organizational culturededicated
the Peace Corps and the State De- to the foundingidea, preventing the introductionof competingideas or
partmentBureau of Human Rights tactics.However,thisinsulationalso lessensthemissionary in-
institution's
and HumanitarianAffairs. fluenceoverthe craftingof foreignpolicy.Preexisting bureaucracieswill
automatically resisttheintroductionof newactorsintothepolicymixand

DanielW.DreznerisAssistant
Professor ofChicago,5828
ofPoliticalScience,University
Avenue,Chicago,IL 60637(ddrezner@uchicago.edu).
SouthUniversity
Previousversionsofthisarticlewerepresented at the1999InternationalStudiesAsso-
ciationannualmeeting,Washington, D.C. and at thePIPES workshopat theUniversity
ofChicago.I am gratefulto JennyKehland especiallyMelanieKayAndersonfortheir
research I thankDelia Boylan,Don Moon,RolandParis,James
assistance. M. Scott,Amy
Searight,SvenSteinmo,Alexander Wendt,GregCaldeira,andthreeanonymous referees
fortheircomments andsuggestions.Theusualcaveatapplies.
American
Journal Vol.44,No. 4, October2000,Pp. 733-749
ofPoliticalScience,
?2000 bytheMidwestPoliticalScienceAssociation

733
734 DANIEL W. DREZNER

impose constraints. The developmentof a strongorga- will meet cognitiveresistancefromlong-heldbeliefs


nizationalculturewillpreventthenew missionaryinsti- (Jervis1976;Lebow 1981). One of theissuesthisarticle
tutionfromcompromisingwithotheragencies.An in- can addressis how missionaryinstitutionssurvivein a
sulated institutionwill be hard-pressedto overcome bureaucratic junglewhereotheractorswillresistthein-
bureaucratic divisionsin spreadingitsideas. jectionofnewideas.
In contrast,idea-infused institutionsembedded This articlealso fillsseveralgaps in thebureaucratic
withina morepowerfulbureaucracyhave a lowerprob- politicsliterature.SinceAllison's(1971) EssenceofDeci-
abilityof survivalin theiroriginalform.Theymustcope sion,thestudyof bureaucraticpoliticsliterature has fo-
withgreaterpressuresthan insulatedagenciesand are cusedon thedescriptionof organizationalinteraction as
preventedfromdevelopinga strongorganizationalcul- a separatelevel of analysis(Welch 1992; Hudson and
ture.Embeddedinstitutions arelessimmuneto compet- Vose 1995;Sternand Verbeek1998) ratherthandevelop-
ing ideas. However,iftheydo survive,embeddedinsti- ing positivetheoriesof action. The resulthas been an
tutions have a greaterchance of thrivingover time. endlessseriesof debatesabout the salienceof bureau-
Close interactionwithotherbureaucraciescan lead to craticpoliticsin contrastto thepowerof sharedimages
an increasein sharedideas and sharedunderstandings. (Krasner 1972; Art 1973; Khong 1992; Rhodes 1994),
This may alterthe goals of the institution,but it also presidential dominance, (Moe 1985; Bendor and
transforms the identityof the otherbureaucraticunits Hammond 1992), legislativedominance(Weingastand
by convertingthemto theirfoundingidea. Ideational Moran 1983),or all of theabove (Hammond and Knott
entrepreneurs thusfacea tradeoffin establishinginsti- 1996).The modifiedideationalapproachdevelopedhere
tutionsthatembodydearlyheldideas.Theycan increase is nota generaltheoryofbureaucraticpolitics.However,
the odds forsurvivalat the cost of greaterinfluence,or it does suggestthe originsof bureaucraticpreferences,
theycan gamble at enhancingtheirinfluencebut risk strategiesto maximizeorganizationalutility, and likely
extinction. outcomes.In particular,the abilityof bureaucraciesto
To testthismodifiedideationalapproach,I develop use organizationalcultureas a means of propagating
twocase studiesof missionary institutionswithdifferentideas is crucialto determining outcomes.The approach
placementsin thefederalgovernment. Bothinstitutions used hereis consistentwithrecentrationalist(Bendor,
are imbued witha set of ideas distinctfromthe restof Taylor,and Van Gaalen 1987; Brehmand Gates 1997)
the foreignpolicybureaucracy:the UnitedStatesPeace and constructivist work(Legro 1996) emphasizingthe
Corps and the State Department'sBureau of Human role of organizationalcultureas an importantfactorin
Rightsand HumanitarianAffairs (HA).' bureaucratic politics.
This articleis intendedto contributeand critique The casespresentedherealso correctsomeempirical
boththeideasand thebureaucratic and
politicsliterature deficiencies.The bureaucraticpoliticsapproachhas fo-
to begina dialoguebetweenthetwo.The ideas literature cused exclusivelyon crisisdecision makingin security
has been unable to disentanglethe effectof ideas from bureaucracies(Allison1971;Lebow 1981) at theexpense
theeffect of materialinterests(Jacobsen1995). Previous of longitudinalanalyses of "routine" foreignpolicy,
studiesof foreignpolicyideas,such as thecultof theof- whichis odd sincethisis thepolicycategorythatbureau-
fensive (Van Evera 1984) or strategictrade theory craticpoliticsshould mattermost (Rosati 1981). Other
(Goldstein 1993), have been unable to separatethe in- foreignpolicyagencieshavebeen neglected.Expanding
trinsiceffectof new ideas fromtheinfluenceof interest the rangeof cases can help to broaden the explanatory
groupsthatmateriallybenefitedfromthose ideas. The powerofbureaucratic politicsin foreignpolicy.
casespresentedhereareselectedto separatethoseeffects. The restof thisarticleis organizedas follows.The
Anotherproblemwiththeideas literature has been nextsectionsurveystheobstaclesmissionary institutions
itsfailureto examinehow foreignpolicyis craftedwhen facein pursuingtheiragendas.Sectiontwo developshy-
competingideascoexist.Too oftenin thisliterature, casespotheseson thelikelihoodoftheseinstitutions surviving
are presentedwherepowerfulideas simplyoverwhelm and thriving. The thirdsectionmotivatesthecase selec-
preexisting beliefsor values,leadingto a changein policy tionof thePeace Corps and theHA Bureau.The fourth
(Rohrlich1987). Commonsensesuggeststhatnewideas sectionlooksat theperformance ofthePeace Corpsfrom
its originsin the Kennedyadministration to the end of
the Ford administration. The followingsectionlooks at
'In 1994theHA bureauwas renamedtheBureauofDemocracy,
theClintonadministration's theHA's performance
HumanRights,and Laborto reflect underthe Carterand Reaganad-
expandeddefinition
ofhumanrights. ministrations. The finalsectionconcludes.
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 735

Ideas,Bureaucratic
Politics, cal organizations,the bureaucraticpoliticsparadigm,
andForeignPolicy and studiesof organizationalculturesuggestthatthein-
sertionof ideas intoinstitutions is notthatsimple.4
An ideational approach to foreignpolicy argues that Scholars of political organizations note the diffi-
ideas intoinstitutions. Agenciesthat
ideas can be sustainedthroughtheirinstitutionalization cultyof embedding
prefer the status quo or fearlosingpowerwill resistthe
and the organizationalculturebred withinthe institu-
introductionof anynew ideas into the policymix and
tion.Once established, missionary institutionsarean im-
portantcausal mechanismforthe conversionof ideas use any means at theirdisposal to avoid unpalatable
ideas.These meanscould includeagendamanipulation,
into policies. Sikkinkobserves:"Rarelydo new ideas
withholdinginformation, excludingnew agenciesfrom
thrivein themodernworldoutsideof institutional net-
consultation, or psychological pressure to conform.
works.Ideas withinan institution become embodiedin
Politicians will oftenstructure organizationsso thatthey
its statementof purpose,its self-definition, and its re-
can retaintheirinfluenceeven afterlosingoffice(Moe
or
search trainingprogram, which in turn tends to per-
1990). Establishedbureaucraciesmaysabotagethe new
petuate and extend the ideas" (1991, 2). (See also
institutions by lobbyingovertlypoliticalagents,such as
Goldsteinand Keohane 1993,13.)
legislators or interestgroups.A bureaucracywithmany
All institutionshave some foundingidea or ideas.
However,the"missionary"institutions describedin the masters could findit difficultto carryout its mission
ideationalliteratureare distinctin twoways.First,mis- without outside interference.
In foreignaffairs, bureaucratic politicsis particularly
sionaryinstitutionshave a coherentset of preferences
salientfortworeasons.First,actorsimportantto domes-
overmeansand ends.In a missionary institution,thereis
littledisagreementwithinthe agencyover the desired tic politicshave less powerand influencein foreignaf-
goal or thewaysin whichthatgoal is achieved.2Second, fairs. Foreignpolicy is a thin interest-group environ-
ment. While interestgroupsare an importantactorin
missionary tryto preventtheintroduction
institutions of
additionalnormativeor materialgoals in orderto avoid mostmodels of domesticpolicymaking,foreignpolicy
interestgroupsare smaller,less organized,less wealthy,
value conflictsor tradeoffs(Bendor, Taylor,and Van
Gaalen 1987).Thisallowsmembersofa missionary insti- and byextensionlessinfluential (Zegart1999,chapter1).
Similarly, Congress and congressmen havelittleelectoral
tutionto maintaintheirintensityof preferencesover
incentiveto takean interestin foreignaffairsand have
means and ends; it also preventsthe organizationfrom
less informationand fewtools withwhichto influence
engagingin tradeoffs overcompetinggoals.3
most arenasof foreignaffairs.This raisestheprofileof
Implicitin the ideas literatureare the reasonsmis-
otheractors,includingotherbureaucracies.Second,in
sionaryinstitutions arelikelyto surviveand thrive.Pow-
contrast to manyarenasof domesticpolicymaking,for-
erfulideas can createa setof compellingbeliefsthatfuse
eign policy institutionsrarelyhave monopolycontrol
together thepreferences ofmanagers(agencyheads) and
overan issue.Agenciesmustcooperatewitheach otherin
operators(lower-levelbureaucrats).If these ideas are
orderto implementpolicy(Zegart1999). Classicworks
embracedby operators,thepreferences of thisgroupof
on bureaucraticpolitics (Allison 1971; Destler 1972;
individualswill more closelymatchthoseof managers,
Allisonand Halperin1972;Halperin1974) havemodeled
reducingthe need formonitoring.Idea-infusedorgani-
zationsdevelopa uniquesenseoforganizational foreignpolicyas theoutcomeofbargainingamongmul-
mission,
difficul- tipleorganizations
withdifferent agendas.Anynew mis-
overcomingintraorganizational principal-agent
sionaryinstitutionmustnegotiatewithpreexisting bu-
ties(Wilson 1989).
reaucraticactors.
Whileintuitively appealing,thiscausalmechanismis
Establishedagencieshave an advantageovernewly
highlyproblematicwhen applied to foreign-policy bu-
createdinstitutions. Olderagencieswillpossessmorere-
reaucracies.The new institutionalist approachto politi-
sources,information, skill,and expertisein thebureau-
2 This distinguishes fromorganizations cratictrenches.
missionaryinstitutions Newlyestablishedmissionary institutions
liketheCentralIntelligence forexample,
Agency, whichis an insti- will certainlypossess a strongsense of organizational
tutionthathas a clearlydefinedend (to acquireas muchsignifi-
cantinformation aboutothercountriesas possible)butmultiple
methodsofachieving thatend.
but
theideationalapproach,
4Structuralrealismhas also critiqued
3I am talking em-
hereaboutidealtypes.Allpoliticalinstitutions thesecritiquesaresomewhattangential to thecasesdiscussedin
bodythismissionary and as willbe shown,all
zealto someextent, thisarticle.See Posen (1984) and Krasner(1993) fortherealist
missionary mustcopewiththeprospectofnewideas.
institutions take.
736 DANIEL W. DREZNER

mission,but maylack the otherresourcesnecessaryto was dissolvedon thefirstdayof theClintonadministra-


achievetheirpolicies.When created,theseinstitutions tion.A missionaryinstitutionthrives ifthe agency'ses-
mighthavethebackingof morepowerfulactorsthatcan poused normsand principlescloselycorrelatewiththe
shepherdthebureaucratic unitthroughitsinfancy. How-state'sobservedpolicyoutcomes.5For example,in the
ever,as politicalfortunes change,theseprotectors late fortiesthe StateDepartment'sPolicyPlanningStaff
can fall
frompower. effectively pushed U.S. foreignpolicytowardsa grand
The existenceof strongorganizationalculturescan strategy of containment. Bothsurvivingand thriving are
further impede the implementationof ideas in foreign continuousvariables.An agencycan partiallysurviveifit
policy.Foreign-policy agenciesare likelyto have strong
retainsitsorganizational formbuthas some ofitsfound-
organizationalculturesbecause theyfallinto the cat- ingideasalteredovertime.
egoryof"procedural"organizations(Wilson 1989,164), Thereare multiplecauses of survivingand thriving,
in whichoutputscan be observedbut outcomescannot. includingthe balance of materialinterests, the prefer-
In thesetypesof bureaucracies,strongorganizational encesofpoliticalleaders,and feedbackbyexternalactors
culturesfocusless on ends and moreon means.In for- to policyoutcomes.However,theplacementof mission-
eign affairs,the link between the outputs of foreign aryinstitutionsalso mattersbecause it constrainsthe
policyagencies-demarches,treaties,sanctions,induce- strategyset of the new agency.Missionaryinstitutions
ments,diplomaticentreaties,and so on-and the out- can be createdas autonomousagenciesthatarehorizon-
comesthoseoutputsaredesignedto influenceis vagueor tallyequivalentto establishedinstitutions. Such agencies
indirect.Frequently theoutcomeis not evenobservable. have independentaccess to resourcessuch as staffand
Strongorganizationalcultureshave been observedin equipment.These institutions developtheirown hierar-
diplomaticcorps (Destler1972) as well as theU.S. mili- chicalstructureas well as criteriaforpromotionwithin
tary(Wilson 1989). theranks.The U.S. TradeRepresentative is an exampleof
Proceduralorganizationsproduceculturesthatso- thiskindof placement.New missionaryinstitutions can
ciallyconstructan ethosfocusingon methodslinkedto also be establishedas a subunitof a largerorganization.
foundingideals.Iftheseorganizations areconstrained Theseagencieshavea clearmissionbutrelyon thelarger
by
newtasksthatrequiredifferent bureaucracyforrulesand resources.As such,theseinsti-
skills,an existingculture
can be dilutedwiththe influxof new personnelor new tutionshavelesschoiceoverpersonnel,promotioncrite-
tasks.Establishedorganizationalcultureswill resistor ria,and hierarchicalstructure.An exampleofthiskindof
subvertnew tasksthatare assignedthem,forfearthat agencyis theBureauof RefugeeAffairs, whichis located
theywill lose their cohesion and abilityto function withinthelargerorganizational unitoftheStateDepart-
(Derthick1990). This problemwillbe particularly ment.I willcalltheformerinsulatedagenciesand thelat-
acute
withforeign-policy bureaucracies. terembeddedagencies.6
The politicsof bureaucraticstructurecan bluntthe At firstglance,it would appearthatinsulatedagen-
abilityof an institutionto propagateits foundingidea. cies would have a higherprobabilityof survivingand
However,the ideationalentrepreneurs thatcreateand thriving.Insulatedagencieshave the advantagesof au-
staffnew missionaryinstitutionsare not oblivious to tonomyand resourceallocation.An insulatedagencyhas
thesepitfalls.Whatstrategies can theleadersof mission- greatercontroloveritsown staffand budget,preventing
aryinstitutions use to surviveand thrive? otheragenciesfrommanipulatingthoseresources.This
increasesthe abilityof a missionaryinstitutionto fend
offeffortsto constrainitsactivities.
The mostimportantadvantageto an insulatedmis-
sionaryinstitution is theagencyhead's abilityto use the
WhenWillMissionary Institutions foundingideas to generatea strongand cohesiveorgani-
SurviveandThrive? zationculture.Organizationalculture,as definedin the
rationalchoiceliterature (Kreps1990;Miller1992),con-
For thepurposesof thisarticle,a missionaryinstitution sists of the method throughwhich desired ends and
survivesif it maintainsits organizationalintegrity
and
continuesto advanceitsinitialset of ideas evenafterits 5Thisdoesnotmeanthatthepolicysucceeds, justthatitis imple-
politicalpatronslose power.Forexample,theU.S. Coun- mented.Thisgoesto thedistinctionbetweenpolicyoutputsand
cil on Competitiveness,createdbytheBush administra- outcomes.
tion to advance the goal of governmentpromotionof correspondcloselyto Kaarbo's(1998) termi-
6 Thesedefinitions

high-techsectorsof theU.S. economy,did not survive;it nologyofverticalagenciesandhorizontal


agencies.
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 737

means are communicatedfrommanagersto operators agency'schancesforsurvivalwhiledecreasingitschances


and outsiders.Establishinga clear set of decisionrules ofthriving.8
empowersbureaucratsto act underuncertainty. Under Embeddedagenciespossessa different set of disad-
such conditions,ideas can providea road map to solu- vantagesand advantagesin propagatingideas. Embed-
tions (Garrettand Weingast1993). Furthermore, estab- ded agenciesarelocatedwithina largerand morepower-
lishingan organizationalculturebased upon founding fulbureaucracy. This typeof agencyshould,potentially,
ideas makesit easierto solveadverseselectionproblems have greateraccess to theinformationand resourcesof
in hiring.New hiresarequickerto conformto thenorms thelargerentity. A new agencycan manipulateagendas
and practicesof the restof the bureaucracyif thereis and routinesto harnessthepowerofthewholeorganiza-
littlevariationamongthepreferences of individualop- tion by introducingnew practices and procedures.
erators (Brehm and Gates 1997; Carpenter 1998). Kaarbo (1998,81) notesthatifa minority factioncan se-
Foundingideashelpto narrowthatvariance.Cultureen- cure a decision rule of unanimityinstead of majority
suresthatthedesiredprinciplesand causalbeliefssustain rule,it can use itsvetopowerto blockinitiatives.
themselves overtime. The most importanttool of an embedded agency,
Despitetheseapparentadvantages, thereare reasons however, is itsabilityto proselytize
itsnormsand values,
to believethatinsulatedagenciesfacetougherodds of initiating othersin thelargerorganizationto itspointof
thriving. The verystrategies thatincreasethelikelihood viewovertime.This is perhapsthemostdistinctadvan-
of survivingreducethe chancesof thriving.Insulation tageof an idea-basedbureaucracyoveran interest-based
and theconcomitantdevelopmentof a strongorganiza- bureaucracy. Interest-basedbureaucraciescan pushtheir
tionalculturelimitthe influenceof new ideas upon the endsthroughbargainingand theaccumulationofpower.
otherbureaucraticactorsin foreignpolicy.Insulationis Idea-based bureaucraciescan push theirends through
analogous to quarantine;it makesit difficult forother thepersuasionofothergroupsto theirprincipledbeliefs,
ideas to "infect"a missionaryinstitution,but it also particularly iftheycommunicatethepsychicor material
makesit moredifficult forthe missionaryinstitution to benefitsof usingtheirideas.Bothconstructivists and ra-
its
spread ideas to otheragencies. The existenceof dif- tional-choice theorists
argue thatifstaffers
are capableof
ferentorganizationalcultureswill furtherimpede the expressingtheirprincipledbeliefsin a waythatis con-
exchangeof different ideas. Justas separatepoliticalen- ceptuallyamenableto otherindividuals'rolesand beliefs,
titieswill quicklyestablishwithin-groupand without- theirabilityto minglewithotherbureaucratsencourages
group identities,so will bureaucratic units (Mercer a broadershiftin preferences(Brehmand Gates 1997;
1995; Kaarbo and Gruenfeld1998). Sufficientdiffer- Johnston1999). In Rhodes' (1994) studyof the U.S.
ences in bureaucraticculturelead agenciesto distrust Navy,he foundthatAlfredThayerMahan'sideas ofnaval
the abilityof otherinstitutionsto make any contribu- warfaretrumpedthenarrowerparochialinterests among
tion to foreignpolicy.It also encourages existingbu- thesubmariners, airmen,and surfacesailorsin explain-
reaucraciesto act likecompetitors, providingalternative ing weapons procurement.Ideas that resonate with
policy outputs as a way of limitingthe missionary broadervaluesor goalscan spreadacrossthelargerorga-
institution'sinfluence.7 nizationalentity.
A missionary institution's
organizational culturealso Of course,embeddedagenciesalso facesignificant
makeslogrolling difficult.
Compromiseimpliestheaccep- problemsin theirabilityto spreadtheirideas.Unlikean
tanceof otherbeliefsand values,whichcan proveanath- insulatedagency,embeddedagenciesare unableto fash-
ema to bureaucrats who genuinely believethattheirideas ion a separateorganizationalculture.They mustdraw
aresuperior. Agencyheadsmustweighthebenefits ofany theirpersonnelfromthelargerorganizational one
entity,
policycompromiseagainstthecoststo moraleifsuch a thathas a previouslyestablishedbureaucraticculture.
compromiseviolatestheagency'snormsand beliefs.Op- This putsthenew missionaryinstitution at a significant
eratorsmayshirkand/orsabotagecompromisestheydis- disadvantage;agencyheads cannot createan organiza-
like(Brehmand Gates1997).The distrust betweenagen- tional cultureconsistentwiththeirfoundingideas if a
cies with differentorganizationalculturesraises the strongculturealreadyexistswithinthe largerbureau-
transaction costsofreachinga compromise, impairing in- cracy.The absenceof a distinctive organizationalculture
sulatedagencies'abilityto logroll.The developmentof a increasesthelikelihoodofan embeddedagencythriving,
unifying organizationalculturecan increasean insulated
willoftenserveto strengthen
conflict
thisexternal
8Ironically, in-
andVanGaalen(1987) on theeffect
7SeeBendor,Taylor, ofoutside tra-groupcohesionthrougha reinforced organizationalculture.
on bureaucratic
competition outcomes. See't Hart(1994).
738 DANIEL W. DREZNER

but it simultaneouslyreducesthechancesof the agency missionaryinstitutionis supposed to encourage.Only


surviving skirmisheswithothersubunits. whentheseprincipledbeliefsare acceptedby thelarger
Embeddedagenciesmustalso cope withless control organizationalunit does the embedded agencyhave a
over resourcesthan insulatedagencies. Superiorscan chanceof influencing thelargercontoursof policy.The
choose to denymaterial,informational,or human re- problem,of course,is thatthe act of persuasiontakes
sourcesto thenewagency,cutit out fromorganizational time,duringwhichan embeddedagencycould faceex-
decisionmaking,or simplycoercebureaucratsintocon- tinction.Evenifsuccessful,theresultis likelyto be a hy-
formingwiththe organizations'statusquo ante goals. bridof theentrenched ideas of thepreexisting organiza-
Embedded agenciesalso face an acute problemof ad- tionand thenewideas ofthemissionary institution.
verseselection;theycannotbe sureif new staffwill act Table1 summarizesthecontrast betweenthesuccess-
in a mannerconsistentwiththe foundingideas. Over and outcomespursuedbythedifferent
fulstrategies types
time,thiscan lead to an absorptioninto the largeren- ofmissionary The placementofthemission-
institutions.
tity,extinguishing(or at the veryleast,mutating)the aryinstitutionwithinthelargerbureaucracyis theinde-
foundingideas. pendentvariable,becauseit strongly affects theinterven-
Insulated and embedded agencies face a tradeoff. ingvariable,organizationalstrategy.It shouldbe stressed
Embeddedagencieshavethebetterchanceof spreading thatthismodifiedideationalapproachis farfroma com-
theirideas overtimeacross a significant sectionof the pletetheoryof ideas and bureaucraticpolitics;it ignores
foreignpolicybureaucracy,but theyalso have a better theroleofmaterialinterestsas wellas otherfactors. How-
chanceof beingideologicallyabsorbedby thelargeror- ever,itsparsimonyhas advantages. As Lijphart(1971) ob-
ganizationalunit.Insulatedagencieshavea betterchance serves,parsimonioustheoriespermitscholarsto draw
of implementingtheirdesired policies,but over time fromfewerobservations.
causal inferences The nextsec-
mustcope withcountervailingpolicies establishedby tionexplainsthecase selectionand testingmethodology.
otheragenciesand hostileexecutives.
Giventhesetradeoffs, how should missionaryinsti-
tutionsbe expectedto perform? Insulatedagenciesthat
maximizethe advantagesof autonomyensuresurvival. Case SelectionandPrediction
This means establishinga strongbureaucraticculture
thatcan sustainthefoundingidealsof theinstitution. A Because of thedifficulty in quantifyingtheindependent
strongculturecan also thwarthostileexecutivesor legis- and dependentvariables,case studieswill be used. The
latures. Although politicians can weaken agencies subsequent sections conduct a plausibility probe
throughbudgetcuts and personnelshifts,a strongbu- (Eckstein1974) of thehypothesesdelineatedin thepre-
reaucraticculturecan encourage operatorsto pursue vious sectionby examiningthe Peace Corps underthe
goalsthatmightruncontraryto a hostilemonitor.Such Kennedy/Johnson and Nixon/Fordadministrations, and
a strongculturewill also makeit moredifficult forthat theStateDepartmentBureauof Human Rightsand Hu-
agencyto convertotherpartsof the foreignpolicyma- manitarianAffairs(HA) underthe Carterand Reagan
chineryto itssetof principledbeliefs,or to logrollother administrations. These cases wereselectedon theinde-
bureaucracies. Thus,an insulatedagencyshouldsucceed pendentvariableto allowvariationin agencyplacement.9
in implanting strongnormswithinitsstaff, sustainingits Such an approach reducesthe chance of selectionbias
organizationalmission.On theotherhand,it shouldbe that is ever present in qualitative research (King,
expectedto havelessinfluenceoverthebroadercontours Keohane,and Verba1994,chapter4).
offoreignpolicy,and itspolicyoutputswillbe dilutedby The Peace Corps is nominallyunderthe controlof
thepoliciesofotheragencies. the StateDepartment,but it has much greaterinstitu-
Embeddedagenciesfacea different setof incentives tionalautonomythantheHA Bureau.The Corps'budget
to propagatetheirideas.Theywillbe unableto developa is a separatelineitemfromtheStateDepartment;itsstaff
strongorganizationalculture,makingthemmorevulner- does not come fromthe Foreign Service. The Peace
able to absorptionby the largerorganizationalentity. CorpsActof 1961explicitly statedthatitsoperatorswere
Theseagenciesfacean immediatethreatto theirsurvival not obligatedto agreewithor defendU.S. foreignpolicy
fromhostilebureaucratsand superiors.Theiroverriding (Schwartz1991, 19). It meetsthe definitionof an insu-
goal mustbe to encouragepracticesand routinesthat
spreadideas to the restof thelargerorganization.This
9Sincethemodified ideationalapproachhasonlyoneindependent
couldbe donethroughtraining regimens or newstandard variable,twocasesgeneratessufficient to pre-
degreesoffreedom
operatingproceduresthatexposeothersto theideas the ventunderdetermination.
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 739

TABLE I A Comparisonof Insulatedand EmbeddedAgencies

Typeof Resourcesat PredictedOrganizational


Agency Disposal Strategy PredictedOutcome
Insulated Controlover Generationofa strong Survivallikely;not
agency personnel,budget, organizational
cultureto likelytothrive
promotioncriteria ensuresurvival
Embedded Greateraccess to Attemptto change practices Survivalless likely;
agency otherbureaucracies and proceduresto persuade ifsurvival,
then
otherbureaucrats thriving
likely

lated agency.The HumanitarianAffairs Bureau,in con- fortsto controlor alterits mission.At the same time,
trast,was establishedwithinthe StateDepartmentbu- however,theideas thatpromptedits creationshouldbe
reaucracy. Nonpoliticalstaffcame fromtheForeignSer- limitedin theireffecton Americanforeignpolicy.With
vice. The head of HA was an AssistantSecretaryin the theHA bureau,we shouldexpectanyattemptto forgea
StateDepartmentbureaucracy.In contrastto the Peace separatebureaucraticculturefail,due to the inevitable
Corps,HA had to operatewithintheconfinesofa preex- clash withthebureaucraticcultureof the ForeignSer-
istingbureaucracyand organizationalculture.It meets vice.Overtime,however, one would expectto see HA ei-
thedefinition of an embeddedagency. therco-optedbytheStateDepartment,or,ifit survives,
The cases havetheadded advantageof holdingcon- converting theForeignServiceto itsfoundingideas.
stantvariables importantin alternativeexplanations. Althoughthecaseselectioncontrolsforsomealterna-
First,theeffectof materialinterests on policyoutcomes tiveexplanations, otherapproacheswould producea set
is controlledforin thatno domesticinterests materially of predictionscontrasting withthe modifiedideational
benefitedfromeitherthePeace Corpsor theHA bureau. approach,as Table2 demonstrates. A presidentialdomi-
Historiesof theseorganizationsdemonstratethatthese nanceapproach(Moe 1985;Bendorand Hammond1992,
agenciesembodyprincipledbeliefs-ideas thatdeter- 313-317) arguesthatthe chiefexecutive,throughap-
mine whichpolicyends are rightand whichare wrong pointment and selectiveincentives,can overcomeanybu-
(Goldsteinand Keohane 1993).10Althoughit is impos- reaucraticresistanceto his preferred outcomes.This ap-
sible (and undesirable)to separatecompletelytheeffect proach would predict the missionaryinstitutionsto
of ideas fromthe effectof interests, thesetwo agencies surviveand thrivein supportiveadministrations, but
comeveryclose. witherand die in unfriendly administrations. In bothof
Second,the internationaldistributionof powerre- the cases, an administrationwithideologies hostileto
mainedreasonablyconstantthroughout thetimeperiod theseinstitutions' foundingideas came to powerwithin
studied. Systemictheorists(Waltz 1979) argue that tenyearsof theircreation.Furthermore, boththeNixon
changesin theexternalpolicyenvironment are theprin- and Reaganadministrations placeda greatdeal ofempha-
cipal cause of anychangesin foreignpolicy.The bipolar- sison politicalcontroloverthebureaucracy andwerethus
ity of the Cold War remained essentiallyunchanged quiteconsciousoftheneedto controlorganizations with
throughoutboth cases. Structuralrealismwould there- views antitheticalto theirideas (Reeves 1988; Nathan
forebe unable to explain anyvariationin U.S. foreign 1983).11 Predicting outcomesbased solelyon materialre-
policy towardsglobal developmentor human rights. sourceallocationswould predicta betterchanceforthe
Thus,bothsystemic and pluralistapproacheswouldpre- Peace Corpsto surviveand thrivethantheHA bureau,as
dictthatthenew missionary institutions
shouldhaveno itsinitialstaffsize (250 to 20 initialstaffers)
and budget
effect on foreignpolicy.Anyobservedvariationin policy weremuchlarger.
outputswouldhaveto come fromtheconsciouseffort of
theseinstitutions. 1"Anapproachbasedon theindividual presidentialstyleofman-
Fromthe argumentsmade in the previoussection, agement(Rosati1981;Hermannand Preston1994)wouldpredict
we shouldexpectto see thePeace Corps successfully de- neitheragencyto surviveor thrivein all periods.The missionary
institutions
wouldfacethedifficulties ofbeingminority voicesin
velopa strongorganizational culturein orderto resistef- administrations(Johnsonand Carter)thatvaluedbureaucratic
consensus.Withpresidentsthatpreferred morecentralizedde-
"0ForHA, see Bloomfield(1982), Drew (1977), and Sikkink cision-making(Nixonand Reagan),theywouldlose outbecause
(1993); on thePeaceCorps,see Hoopes 1965,Rice(1985),Reeves they were promotingideas that differedfrompresidential
(1988),and Schwartz(1991). preferences.
740 DANIEL W. DREZNER

TABLE 2 Predicted
Outcomes
Predicted
performance Predicted
performance Predicted
performance Predicted
performance
ofPeaceCorpsunder ofPeaceCorps ofHA ofHA
Approach Kennedy/Johnson underNixon underCarter underReagan
Modified Highprobability
of Highprobability
of Lowprobability
of Lowprobability
of
ideational surviving;
lowprobabilitysurviving;
lowprobabilitysurviving
andthriving surviving;
ifsurvival,
ofthriving ofthriving of
highprobability
thriving
Presidential Highprobability
of Lowprobability
of Highprobability
of Lowprobability
of
dominance surviving
andthriving orthriving
surviving surviving
andthriving orthriving
surviving
Material Highprobability
of Highprobability
of Lowprobability
of Lowprobability
of
resources surviving
andthriving surviving
andthriving surviving
orthriving surviving
orthriving

Becauseoftheacuteinterest in boththePeace Corps velopmentand in theprocesscreatealliesamongthemass


and humanrightsin general,I relyon secondarysources of newlydecolonized states.Memos betweenKennedy
in buildingthecase studies.Thisinevitablyleadsto ques- and thefirstPeace Corps director, R. SargentShriver,in
tionsof codingreliabilityof qualitativevariables.Space 1961 stressedthe foreign-policy advantagesthatwould
constraintspreventan exhaustivedetailingof minute accrueto theUnitedStatesfromthegoodwillgenerated
disagreements amongthesourcesabouttheoutcomesin bythePeace Corps,particularly withrespectto theCold
eachcase.However,a reviewoftheliterature has revealed Warcompetition withtheSovietUnion (Cobbs 1996,90-
a surprisingdegreeof consensuson most of the points 94; CobbsHoffman1998,29).Shriver's first
tripabroadto
coveredin thecase studies.In each case,plausiblealter- sellthePeace Corpsto hostcountriesspecifically targeted
nativeexplanationsare discussed,and significantdis- strategicthird-world countries,includingNigeria,India,
agreements amongsecondarysourcesarealso noted. Pakistan,and the Philippines(Amin 1992,40).12 How-
ever,thePeace Corps'creatorswerealso awareof thefact
thattheonlywayto obtainthatadvantagewas to denude
U.S. policyofblatantanti-communism, sincethiswould
ThePeace Corps:1961-1976 conflictwiththe revolutionaryideology of these new
countries.In short,thefoundersofthePeace Corpshad a
Thereweretwofoundingideas of thePeace Corps.First, causal beliefthatby focusingon development,theU.S.
thewayto alleviatepovertyand promotedevelopment would build up goodwillamong thedecolonizedstates.
was throughthedirectactionof thePeace CorpsVolun- Throughsuch idealpolitik,theUnitedStateswould help
teers(PCVs). This was the qualitythroughwhich the stemcommunism(Shriver1964,72).
PeaceCorpsdistinguished itselffrommoretechnicalU.S. DespitepressurefromAID to placethenewmission-
aid organizationssuch as theAgencyforInternational aryinstitutionwithinitsorganizational purview, Kennedy
Developmentor PointFour.Unlikethoseagencies,which establishedthePeace Corpsas an insulatedagency.'3The
dispatchedaid,thePeace Corpswas designedto puta hu- firstPeace Corps stafferswereconscious thattheirau-
manfaceto thataid (Anderson1998;Shriver1964,71-72; tonomousstatuspermitteda strongorganizationalcul-
Ashabranner 1971,44-45).One quasi-officialguideto the turethatwould perpetuatethe foundingideals.Shriver
Peace Corps observedin 1965:"thePeace Corps saysto observed,"The organizationalchartswould havelooked
theworldas no privateagencyor technicalassistanceor- betterif we had become a box in a single foreignaid
ganizationcould sayit,thattheAmericanpeople them- agency.Butthethrustofa newidea wouldhavebeenlost.
selveswantto help the people of the emergingnations
fightthe poverty,disease,and ignorancewhichare the
greatestobstaclesto progress....Thisconceptofthedoer, a June1961tripto Guinea,Shriver
'2After wrotein a memoran-
dum:"Herewe havean opportunity to movea countryfroman
as opposedto theadvisoror teacher, is thedistinguishing oreven
to a positionofneutrality
clearBlocorientation
apparently
featureofthePeace Corps"(Hoopes 1965,82, 100). to theWest.Thisis thefirst
one oforientation I
suchopportunity
Second,thePeaceCorpswas designedto reorient U.S. knowofin thedeveloping world"(quotedinAmin1992,44).
foreignpolicyin thethirdworldtowardsproblemsofde- (1971,44-47) formoreon thisdecision.
"3SeeAshabranner
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 741

The newwineneededa newbottle"(1964,15).VicePresi- led to thespreadof thefoundingideas of development,


dentJohnsonwarnedShriver, "thistownis fullof folks directaction,and person-to-person diplomacy.More fa-
who believethe onlywayto do somethingis theirway. vorableattitudestowardstheU.S. by third-world elites
That'sespeciallytruein diplomacyand thingslikethat, werereportedthroughoutAfricaand Asia (Amin 1992,
becausetheyworkwithforeigngovernments.... You put 163-178;Cobbs Hoffman1998,157-182;Rice 1985,280;
thePeace Corps intotheForeignServiceand they'llput Searles1997,12).
stripedpantson yourpeople"(quotedin Rice 1985,67). The Peace Corpswas also successfulin encouraging
The staffand volunteersquicklyacquiredtheculture policyemulationamong othercountriesin theWest.In
of a missionaryinstitution. The numberof applications October 1962, the Peace Corps held an "International
to be Peace Corps Volunteers(PCVs) in 1961 outnum- Conferenceon Middle-LevelManpower"in PuertoRico
beredapplicationsto all otherdepartments ofthefederal to encourage other countriesin the west to establish
government. The firstfewcohortsofPCVs consistedpri- Peace-Corps-typeprograms.At the conference,twelve
marilyof BA generalistswho signed up because of countriesannouncedplansto establishsimilarprograms,
Kennedy'scall forservice.Once placed in thefield,they and thenumberincreasedin theyearsthereafter. By1965,
establisheda strongsubculturethatreflected thefound- sixteenwesterncountriesincludingFrance,Germany, and
ing ideals of the agency:independencefromotherfor- GreatBritainhad startedsimilarvolunteerprograms.
eignpolicyagencies,a sensitivity to othercultures,and a These initialsuccessesoccurredwithoutmuchsup-
desireto be "doers."'14The organizationalculturewas so port fromthe restof the foreign-policy bureaucracy.
strongthatlongitudinalstudiesof PCVs indicatethat Therewererepeatedclasheswiththe StateDepartment.
theircareerpathsweredramatically bytheirser-
affected Relationsbetweenthe Peace Corps and AID were de-
vicein thePeace Corps (Starr1994). scribedas "dismal."RelationswiththeDepartmentofthe
The exceptionalespritde corpsof the Peace Corps Interior"nearlyregressed intoa brawl"(Carey1970,180-
administrators has also been documentedin organiza- 185). The Civil Service Commission was reluctantto
tionalhistories(Ashabranner1971;Rice 1985; Schwartz workwiththenewmissionary institution.As a wayofex-
1991; Cobbs Hoffman1998). The amount of overtime ertingpower,otherforeignpolicybureaucratsrefrained
hourstheywerewillingto devoteto the cause reflected fromtransmitting information to thePeace Corps Staff.
theircommitmentto the mission of the Peace Corps. Rice quotes one officialcomplaining,"Can anyoneex-
The forty-hour workweekdid not existforthestaffany plainto mewhywe neverappearto see StateorAID mes-
more than it did forthe volunteersin the field(Clute sagesinvolving majordecisionson issuesinvolving coun-
1962, 165). Ashabrannerobserved:"Almosteveryone triesin whichwe haveprograms?" (1985, 130).
who servesforanylengthof timein thePeace Corps ... Partofthistensionwas due to differences in organi-
developsan emotionalattachment to thePeace Corps,or zationalculturethatdevelopedbetweenthePeace Corps
at leastto thePeace Corpsidea,thatI cannotconceiveof and otherorganizations.More establisheddepartments
anyonedevelopingforthe CommerceDepartment,the thoughtthePCVs werenaive,untrained, and an impedi-
BureauofStandards,or theAgencyforInternational De- mentto theconductof foreignpolicy.Wofford quotes a
velopment"(1971,3).15 careerdiplomatin the Statedepartmentdisparagingly
The Peace Corps'emphasison fostering a strongor- describing thePeace Corpsmottoas: "Yoo-hoo,yoo-hoo.
ganizationalcultureled to some foreign-policy successes Let'sgo out and wreaksome good on thenatives"(1980,
in thesixties.Shriverand hisstaffdecidedat theoutsetto 274). The Peace Corps was partlyresponsibleforthese
place as manyvolunteersas possible in the field.The conflictsbecauseoftheirstrategy ofdevelopinga distinct
growthof the programwas impressive.In 1961 there organizationalculture.In one memorandum, Shriveror-
were750 PCVs; by 1966 therewere15,556in morethan deredthatPCVs refrainfromspendingtimeat U.S. em-
fiftycountries,includingnationstraditionallyaligned bassycompoundsor consortwiththeembassystaff.He
with the Soviet Union such as Tanzania and India. noted,"Separatenessfromotheroverseasoperationsof
Shriver'ssuccessat creatinga large,insulatedagencyalso the U.S. is importantto achievingthe desiredimage"
(Rice 1985,130;see also Carey1970,chapternine).
The differencesin organizationalculturewereexac-
14See in particularSchwartz(1991), chapterone; Rice (1985),
erbatedbytheperceivedloss of powerfeltby otherfor-
chapterten.
eignpolicyagencies.Rice quotes Bill Moyersobserving:
15 Thisdoes notmeanthatthere werenotconflicts withintheor- "The old-lineemployeesof Stateand AID covetedthe
ganization.
Ricenotes"Onceoverseas,theVolunteers formed their
ownexclusive 'subculture'
andmostpreferred tohaveas littletodo Peace Corpsgreedily.Itwas a naturalinstinct; established
withPeaceCorps/Washington as possible"(1985,221-222). bureaucraciesdo notlikecompetitionfromnew people"
742 DANIEL W. DREZNER

(1985, 61). Searlesquotes a USAID bureaucratgrousing mous niche,but as a resultit had littleto no influence
to a Peace Corps volunteer,"Peace Corps is afraidthat overotherforeign-policy agencies.
someone else mightgeta littlecreditfortryingto help The Peace Corps faceda hostilePresidentin Rich-
people,too" (1997,98). In one interagency meeting,State ard Nixon.Nixon embraceda realpolitik foreignpolicy.
departmentofficialsexpressedbitterness withthePeace The ideals and the independence of the Peace Corps
Corpsformusclingin on educationalaid policies.Other clashed with Nixon's preferenceson foreignpolicy.
officialsat State felt that Shriver needed "a gentle Cobbs Hoffmannotes,"Richard Nixon ... saw little
straightening out" so thatthe Peace Corps could better place in his plans fora warm and fuzzyPeace Corps
serveState.Theyopposed the 1962 international confer- spreadinggoodwillthroughout theworld.If it could not
enceheldbythePeace Corps,fearingthatShriverwould fulfilla specificforeignpolicyfunctionthatgainedthe
unwittinglydeliver the Soviets a propaganda coup United Statesan advantagein the world,it should be
(Cobbs 1996). There was particularresentmentthat 'chopped"' (1998, 222-223). This was also emblematic
Shriverrefusedto send PCVs to unstablebut strategic of HenryKissinger,Nixon's national securityadvisor
countriessuch as Vietnamor Algeria (Schwartz1991, and foreignpolicyarchitect.
74). Despite thisantagonism,the Peace Corps partially Afterconsultationswithhis staff, Nixon concluded
thrivedduringthe Kennedy/Johnson years.Its statusas thatabolishingtheagencyoutrightwould be too politi-
PresidentKennedy'spetprojectprotectedit fromthreats callycostly.He decidedinsteadon a stealthcampaignto
to itssurvival,lendingsome supportto thepresidential- destroyit.In March 1970,a WhiteHouse staffmemo to
dominancethesis. JohnErlichmanand HenryKissingerarguedfor"a quiet
Afterits promisingstart,otheroutputsof U.S. for- phasingout ofthePeace Corps,"throughappropriations
eign policybegan to overwhelmthe Peace Corps' suc- cuts (Schwartz1991, 161). In Julyof thatyear,Nixon's
cesses.Shriver'sstrategy of focusingon developmentin chiefof staff,H. R. Halderman,recordedin his diary
orderto woo third-world countrieswas overshadowed by thatthepresidentwantedto cutthePeace Corpsbudget,
the policy externalitiesof Vietnam.The stridentanti- "farenoughto decimatethem"(Halderman1994,191).
communismofthewareffort led severalcountriesto ex- He was reasonablysuccessfulin this goal, as Table 3
pel thePeace Corps;some nationsclaimeditwas simply demonstrates.
a coverforU.S. intelligence (Schwartz1991). Differences JosephBlatchford, Nixon'sfirstPeace Corpsdirector,
in organizationalculturemade anyattemptto influence launcheda set of policies,called New Directions,which
otheragenciesfutile.Ricenotes,"thepowerbrokerssur- placedgreateremphasison meetingthespecificdevelop-
roundingKennedyregardedthePeace Corps'leadersas' mentneedsof thehostcountries(Blatchford1970). The
boy scouts,'and thegeopoliticiansof theNationalSecu-
rityCouncilviewedthemand thePeace Corpsas periph-
eral at best" (1985, 302). Simplyput,the Peace Corps' TABLE3 and Staffof
Appropriations
abilityto promotetheideas of developmentand cultural thePeace Corps
exchangewas drownedout bytheforeign-policy impli-
cationsofVietnam. Appropriations NumberofPeaceCorps
It could be arguedthatthePeace Corps was simply Year (in1963dollars) Volunteers
andTrainees
too small and narrowan institutionto affectVietnam. 1963 59,000,000 6,646
However,theevidencesuggeststhatthePeace Corpswas 1964 94,552,000 10,078
also unableto alterU.S. policyon developmentalaid,an 1965 100,596,000 13,248
1966 107,116,000 15,556
issue area firmlywithinits bailiwick. In the firstten
1967 100,159,000 14,698
yearsofthePeace Corps'existence, developmentaid was 1968 93,810,000 13,823
uncorrelatedwith the degree of povertyin recipient 1969 85,012,000 12,131
countries,a prime considerationforthe Peace Corps 1970 77,907,000 9,513
(Lumsdaine1993,91-92). This occurredat a timewhen 1971 67,711,000 7,066
demandoutstrippedsupplyin extremely 1972 52,325,000 6,894
poor countries
1973 55,346,000 7,341
forPeace Corps education programs(Rice 1981, 13). 1974 48,278,000 8,044
Furthermore, thegeneraltrendwas one ofprofessionali- 1975 44,519,000 7,015
zationof aid provision,eschewingthephilosophyof di- 1976 43,999,000 5,752
rectaction embodied by the Peace Corps (Lumsdaine 2000 51,850,000 7,000
1993,232). Consistentwiththe theorydevelopedhere, Source:CobbsHoffman
(1998,262);http://www.peacecorps.gov/about/
thePeace Corpswas able to carveout a separateautono- facts/index.
html.
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 743 -

main thrustof New Directions was the recruitingof Balzano took stepsto alterthe organizationalcul-
older,moreskilledpersonnelas opposed to theBA gen- ture.He removedthe Peace Corps' recruitment bureau
eraliststhatdominatedthe Peace Corps duringthesix- and placed it in ACTION. He was determinedto eradi-
ties.Therewereintrinsically sound reasonsforthisshift, cate the Peace Corps' cultureof directaction; he de-
but Blatchfordjustifiedit in a memo to HenryKissinger scribedtheexistingPeace Corpsprogramming as "totally
by sayingthatthesenew personnelwould "emphasize inadequate"(Balzano 1978,3). To changeit,he setup six
technicalassistancemorethansimplygood will"(quoted programminginstitutesdesigned to convince Peace
in Cobbs Hoffman1998,222-223). This emphasiscon- Corps staffers thatcommunityactionwas outdatedand
tradictedthefoundingidealsofthePeace Corps,clashing different methodshad to be promulgated. Attendanceat
withthe causal beliefsof directaction and movingthe theseinstitutes was mandatoryforstaffers.
Peace Corps missioncloserto AID. Severalstaffers con- DespiteNixon'spreferences, thebudgetcuts,thebu-
cluded thatBlatchford's actionsweredesignedto trans- reaucraticshake-up,and the Balzano appointment,the
formthePeace Corps froma missionaryinstitution to a foundingideasofthePeaceCorpsdid notdisappear.Sur-
juniorUSAID (Schwartz1991;Reeves1988). veystakenof staffers beforeand afterBalzano'sprogram-
Blatchfordtook otherstepsto altertheagency'sor- minginstitutes showedno realchangein theideasheldby
ganizationalculture.He cut theamountof trainingand PeaceCorpsstaffers. Bureaucratswho triedto implement
indoctrination PCVs receivedbeforegoingintothefield, thenew programsfoundthemselves ostracized(Balzano
reducingthesocializationcomponentofthePeace Corps 1977, 12-22; Reeves1988,83-85). Balzano'sinabilityto
(Cobbs Hoffman1998,223). He also alteredthe mix of alterthefoundingidealsoftheinstitution was largelydue
rolesPCVs playedin the field.In the Kennedy/Johnson to therobustorganizationalcultureof thePeace Corps.
years,25 percentof all PCVs weredevotedto "commu- All of thePeace Corps directorsunderBalzano wereso-
nitydevelopment" as a wayofplacingvolunteersdirectly cializedintothe agency'scultureand refusedto alterit.
intocommunities.Blatchfordphased thisout; by 1972, For example,JohnDellenback,who became the Peace
only4.2 percentof PCVs engagedin communitydevel- Corps directorin 1975,commented:"I helpedwritethe
opment.Instead,largenumbersof PCVs wereplaceddi- legislationthatcreatedACTION ... whenI becamePeace
rectlyin hostcountrybureaucracies,anothermove that Corps DirectorI changedmymind and concludedthat
triedto push the Peace Corps towardstheAID format. we ... had made a legislativemistake.... I becameabso-
However,his mostseriousorganizationalmovewas the lutelyconvincedof the uniquenessof the Peace Corps'
strictenforcement ofthe"five-year rule."Thisbarredany mission" (Searles 1997, 166). Balzano, ratherbitterly,
Peace Corps stafferfromservingin theagencyformore came to the same conclusion:"There are manypeople
than fiveyears.16In 1971, Blatchfordused this rule to employedby thePeace Corps at presentwho havebeen
flushout 10 percentof theWashington and 49 per-
staff, withthePeace Corps sinceitsinception.Such revolving-
centof the overseascountrydirectors(Schwartz1991; dooremployment fosters
intellectual
in-breeding:all new
Cobbs Hoffman1998). ideasarejuxtaposedagainstthestandardofthepast.This
Thesestepswereinsufficient forNixon,and he soon is perhapsat therootofPeaceCorpsprogramming inflex-
took more drasticaction. In 1971,Nixon consolidated ibility"(1978, 16).
the Peace Corps and othervolunteeragencies into a The ideals implantedin 1961 remainedfirmlyin
singlebureaucraticunitcalledACTION. As partof the placein 1976;thePeaceCorpssurvived. As Table3 shows,
bureaucraticshake-up,thePeace Corps was renamed;it budgetaryauthority and manpowerhave risenfromthe
was now the InternationalOperationsDivision of AC- mid-seventies nadir.President Clintonexpresseda goalor
TION. To head theagency,Nixontoldhischiefofstaffhe raisingthe numberof PCVs to 10,000,a levelnot seen
wanteda "toughguy"who would could clamp down on sincethesixties.However,thePeace Corpsdid notthrive;
the agency.FindingBlatchfordunsatisfactory, in 1972 as an insulatedagency,it could not influenceotheragen-
NixonappointedMichaelBalzano to be thehead ofAC- cies craftingforeignpolicyor eventhesubsetof foreign
TION.17 Balzano was publicly quoted as vowing to policydealingwithdevelopmentissues.
changethedirectionof thePeace Corps and otheragen-
cies withinACTION, even if it meant"bringingtanks
rightup to theagency'sfrontdoor" (Searles1997,168).
TheHABureau,1976-1988
16Ironically,Shriver
proposedthis1965amendment to thePeace
CorpsActas a wayofpreventing bureaucratic
sclerosis. In October1977,theBureauof Human Rightsand Hu-
'7Balzano'spreviouspositionwasas an aideto CharlesColson. was established.Createdby congres-
manitarianAffairs
744 DANIEL W. DREZNER

sionalmandate,thenewbureauwas embracedby Presi- of Human Rightshad onlythirteenFSOs, and each bu-


dentCarter,who had pledgedin his inauguraladdress: reaucrathad both regionaland functionalduties.There
"Our commitmentto human rightsmustbe absolute." was onlyone officialin chargeof all HA policytowards
Carter'spolitical appointeesto the bureau came from bilateraland multilateraleconomicassistance,in addi-
civil rightsbackgrounds;the nonpolitical appointees tion to the Latin American region.HA faced chronic
wereForeignServiceOfficers(FSOs). The firstassistant manpowershortagesand highturnoverrates(Maynard
secretary of stateforhumanrightsand humanitarian af- 1989,182,193).
fairs,PatriciaDerian,was thefounderof theMississippi The bestwayto measurewhetherHA's ideas thrived
Civil LibertiesUnion. Derian triedto fostera bureau- would be whethergovernmentaid was withheldfrom
craticculturethatvalued human rightsabove standard countriesthoughtto be human rightsviolators,as this
diplomatic practices (Warshawsky 1980, 198-205; was mandated by HA's enactinglegislation (Drezner
Morrison1987,82; Drezner1999,88-89). 1999,88). An interagency groupon Human Rightsand
HA's relationshipswith the other bureaus of the ForeignAssistance(called the ChristopherCommittee
StateDepartmentwerehighlyconflictual. The strainwas becauseitwas headedbyDeputySecretary of StateWar-
causedbytwofactors.First,FSOs bitterly resistedthein- ren Christopher)consisted of participantsfromHu-
troductionof a new and inherently confrontational mis- manitarianAffairs, the regionalbureaus,AID, the Ex-
sion. Confronting stateson theirhumanrightspractices port-ImportBank,Treasury, Defense,and the National
cut againstthe grainof an organizationalculturethat SecurityCouncil.Thiswas a venuewhereHA was able to
stressedthesmoothingoverof conflict.Second,Carter's influenceforeignpolicy.
political appointees, coming from civil rightsback- By all accounts,HA had minimalinfluencein the
grounds,were used to organizationalculturesof con- ChristopherCommittee. The Carter administration
frontation and publicprotest.Derianwas unsuccessful in neverdeclaredanyonea grossviolatorof humanrights,
implantingthisculturein HA, as it was alien to a State whichwould have mandatedsanctions.Otherbureau-
Departmentbureaucracythatvalued comity(Morrison craticactors,includingtheAgriculture Departmentand
1987,54). theExport-Import Bank,succeededin gettingtheirpro-
FSOs in the regionalbureaus reactedto the intro- gramsexemptedfromanyaid cutoff. The biggestconflict
ductionof HA byprotecting theirturf.The regionalbu- withintheChristopher Committeewas betweenHA and
reaus possessedsignificant assets,in the formof infor- theotherStatedepartment bureaus,in particularthere-
mation,controloverpromotion,and accessto overseas gionaldesks.Drew quotesone StateDepartmentofficial
staff.Theyused theircontroloverresourcesto blockany on the decision-makingprocess:"What happened was
HA initiative.Cable trafficand classifiedinformation thatif anyone,includingone of the regionalAssistant
were withheldfromHumanitarianAffairs(Maynard Secretaries... put up a strongargumentagainstzapping
1989,187).Wheninformation was transmitted, itwas of- anyofthesecountries, he won"(1977,43).18 The Under-
ten distorted. The East Asian bureau downplayed secretaryof StateforSecurityAssistancethreatenedto
Indonesia'sabuses in East Timor despitereputablere- resignunless militaryaid and othersecuritysupport
portsto thecontrary. The Near East bureauexaggerated wereexemptedfromhumanrightssanctions.The threat
theShah'sprogramofliberalization in Iran(Cohen 1982, succeeded.Multipleeconometricstudiesshowno corre-
261-262). The inabilityof FSO's servingin Humanitar- lation betweenAmericanaid and the human rightsre-
ian Affairsto receivepromotionsdroveawaycapablebu- gimes in recipientcountriesduringthis time period
reaucratsworriedabout theircareers.The denial of re- (Hofrenning 1990; Poe 1991; Stohl, Carleton, and
sourcesand elitebureaucratsled to a viciouscircle.One Johnson1984;Apodaca and Stohl1999).Expectationsof
regionalbureaudeskofficer describedtheproblem:"It's survivalpast 1980wereminimal.
[HA] notdirectly in thepolicyloop,so theydon'tgetthe The Reaganadministration came intopowertrum-
best people, and the factthat theydon't get the best peting a differentset of ideas regardingtherelationship
people means thatthe worktheydo isn'ttop notchei- betweenhuman rightsand foreignpolicy (Kirkpatrick
ther,whichmeans thattheyare less in the policyloop 1979). Reagan'sapproachto humanrightswas predomi-
whichmeansthattheygetless good people" (quoted in nantlyshaped by the Cold War strugglebetweenthe
Morrison1987,76). United Statesand the Soviet Union; he expectedU.S.
HumanitarianAffairshad fewweapons to combat policy on human rightsto be subordinatedto that
thiskindof bureaucraticconflict.In 1979,twoyearsaf- struggle.
terits creation,HA was stilltinyby StateDepartment
standards, withonlytwentypeople on itsstaff. Its Office 18See also Cohen(1982) and Mower(1987,72-82,103-106).
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 745

Reagan took a numberof stepsto weakenthe HA Second, under the Reagan administrationseveral
bureauand modifyitsfoundingideas to suithis foreign studieshave founda statisticalcorrelationbetweenthe
policypreferences. Reagan'sfirstnomineeto head HA, amount of U.S. aid and the human rightsconditions
ErnestLefever,had previouslyargued thatthe human withinthepotentialrecipientcountries(Cingranelliand
rightsreportsbe eliminatedand thatall legislationtying Pasquarello 1985; Poe and Sirirangsi1993). Indeed,the
aid to human rightsbe revoked.The Senate rejected majorityofthesestudiesfindthatthesignificance ofthe
Lefever'snomination,but the signalof disdain forHA statisticalrelationshipincreasedfromCarterto Reagan
was evident. Until Elliot Abrams was nominated in (Hofrenning1990; Poe 1991, 1992; Apodaca and Stohl
Lefever'splace,HA was lookedat as the"laughingstock" 1999). Buttressing thestatisticalfindingsare clearcases,
ofState,accordingto one FSO (Maynard1989,182-183). such as Haiti or Chile,wherethe Statedepartmentin-
Secretary ofStateAlexanderHaig pointedlyexcludedthe sistedon includinghumanrightson theagendain deal-
actingHA directorfromstaffmeetings. ing witha particularcountry(Shultz 1993, 621, 971).
The Reaganadministration successfullyalteredthe Furthermore, thesame humanrightsexpertsthatargue
definition ofhumanrightsestablishedunderCarter.The HA was tamedunderReaganalso acknowledged thatthe
previousadministration had establishedthreebroadcat- quality of the annual humanrightsreportssignificantly
egoriesofhumanrights:freedomfromtortureand other improvedwitheach passingyearof the administration.
personalviolations,civiland politicalliberties,and eco- Indeed,statisticaltestscomparingtheStateDepartment's
nomic rightsto food, shelter,and health care. Under human rightsreportswiththose of AmnestyInterna-
Reagan,theStatedepartment harmonizedthedefinition tionaland FreedomHouse founda highdegreeof corre-
to be consistentwithoverallforeignpolicyby eliminat- lation (Cingranelli and Pasquarello 1985; Innes de
ingtheeconomicrightscategory.Communistcountries Neufville1986).
had used theeconomiccomponentofthedefinition as a One possibleexplanationforthisturnaroundwould
wayof deflecting criticism.This changepermittedusing be a sea change in Americanpublic opinion towards
thehumanrightsagendaagainstcommunistcountries.19 placing human rightsat the top of the foreign-policy
Finally,therewereseveralhighprofilecases,such as agenda. Commentatorsat the time suggestedthatthe
El Salvador,wherethe Reagan administrationignored Reaganadministration changedcoursebecause of rising
blatanthuman rightsviolations and increasedaid; by public supportforhuman rights(Jacoby1986). How-
1982,El Salvadorwas receiving27 percentof all U.S. bi- ever,pollingdata showsno increasein thesalienceofhu-
lateral aid to Latin America (Donnelly 1998, 99; man rightsfrom1976 onwardsand littlechangein pub-
Cingranelli and Pasquarello1985,544). Mostcommenta- lic supportforemphasizinghuman rightsin bilateral
torsthenand now declaredthathumanrightsconcerns relations(Geyerand Shapiro 1988,392-393).21 Analyz-
were moribundunder the Reagan administration,in ing the data, Geyerand Shapiro conclude: "There has
largepartbecause "HA has been co-optedintothe bu- been littleindicationof changein publicopiniontoward
reaucraticmilieu of the StateDepartment"(Morrison human rightsas a foreignpolicygoal duringthe Carter
1987,219). and Reaganyears"(1988,387).
HA mightnothavesurvivedin itsoriginalform,but Thereare threereasonsforReagan'sreversal.First,
thereis significant
evidencethatit thrivedin theReagan the Assistant Secretaries for Human Rights under
years.First,therewas a noticeableshiftin humanrights Reagan,ElliottAbramsand thenRichardSchifter, were
rhetoricafterReagan'sfirstyearin office.In 1981,U.N. betterat playingthe game of bureaucraticpoliticsthan
ambassadorJeaneKirkpatrick, wrote,"not onlyshould Derian and in so doing furthered HA's agenda.Abrams
humanrightsplaya centralrolein U.S. foreignpolicy,no ensuredthatForeignServiceofficers assignedto HA were
U.S. foreignpolicycan possiblesucceedthatdoes notac- not slightedforpromotionsin thefuture. As a result,the
cord thema major role" (1981, 42). Haig also reversed caliberof FSOs willingto workin HA improved,a fact
course,declaringhumanrightswouldbe a "majorfocus" acknowledged bytheotherbureaus(Morrison1987,89).
ofReagan'sforeignpolicy(Maynard1989,183).20 Second, the proceduresof the Reagan administra-
tion'sinteragency workinggroupdiffered fromtheChris-
topherCommittee.UnderCarter,the different bureaus
19Forexample,theCarteradministration used humanrightsto
voteagainstmultilateral
developmentassistance
toleftist
countries 21Theexception
34 percentof thetimeand rightistcountries31 percentof the to unchanging waspublicopinionabout
attitudes
time.The Reaganadministrationfigureswere31 percentand 4 apartheidin SouthAfrica(Geyerand Shapiro1988,387). Thisex-
percent,
respectively
(Maynard1989,214). ceptionprovestherule,however; anychangeinhis
Reaganresisted
policyof constructiveengagement untilCongressoverrodehis
20Seealso Mower(1987,33-37). vetoofthe1986Anti-Apartheid Act.
746 DANIEL W. DREZNER

arguedthecase out in thegroup;underReagan,theState Conclusions


Departmenthashedout a commonpositionpriorto the
workinggroup meeting.Statedepartmentbureaucrats The international relationsliteraturehas failedto exam-
dislikedairingintradepartmental disputesin frontof ine thecausal mechanismsthroughwhichideas are con-
otherdepartments,in part because such an approach vertedintopolicies.It has been unclearhow missionary
clashedwithState'sorganizationalcultureof comity.By institutionssurviveand thrivein a worldofbureaucratic
workingout a commonpositionbeforehand, HA did not politics.Thisarti'clearguesthattheplacementofthemis-
alwaysgetitsway,but whenit did,it had thebackingof sionaryinstitution vis-a-vistherestof theforeignpolicy
the entireStatedepartment(Maynard1989,212-215). organizations determines theabilityof theseinstitutions
Underthe CartersystemHA was a persistentbut small to surviveand thrive.Insulatedagenciescan createorga-
advocate.Underthe Reagan system,HA's voice was less nizationalculturesweddedto theirfoundingideas.This
frequently heardbutwas considerably louder. makesinsulatedagenciesrobustto challengesfromother
Third,as the clash of culturesdiminished,FSO's organizationsand increasestheodds of survival.Such a
provedmorereceptiveto theidea of humanrights.The strongculturedecreases its abilityto influenceother
primarymechanismthroughwhichthisidea was trans- agencies,restricting itsabilityto manipulatethebroader
mittedwas thehumanrightsreports.The annualexercise foreign-policyagenda. Embedded agencies are con-
to gaugehumanrightsconditionsforcedembassystaffs strainedfromcrafting a separateorganizationalculture,
to assignhumanrightsofficers to writethereports.To do makingthemmorevulnerableto manipulationby the
this,theFSOs establishedcontactsand networksamong largerbureaucracy. If theydo survive,however,theyare
human rightsactivistsin theircountry.The act of data morelikelyto thrive.Alteringroutinesand practicesbe-
collectionand reportwritingsocializedFSOs outsideHA comesa wayofspreadingtheirideasto thelargerorgani-
intotheimportanceof humanrightsideals.Bytheearly zation.ComparingtheabilityofthePeace Corpsand the
eighties,a surveyof FSO's in foreignpostingsrevealed StateDepartment'sHumanitarianAffairs bureauto sus-
surprisinglystrongsupportforthereporting exercise.As taintheirideationalagendastestedthishypothesis.
thereportscirculatedwiththe Statedepartment, aware- Thereare severallimitations to thisstudy.The cases
nessof humanrightsincreasedin official Washingtonas wereselectedusinga "most-similar systems" (Przeworski
well (Innes de Neufville1986,689-693). Participantsin and Teune 1970) in orderto show the existenceof the
theprocesshave confirmedthiseffect. RichardSchifter, causal mechanisms.These cases controlledfortheeffect
Reagan'ssecondAssistantSecretaryforHuman Rights, of materialinterestsand the structuraldistributionof
notedafterleavingoffice: power.Most missionaryinstitutions willhavesincereor
Diplomatsareusedto reporting promptly on devel- strategicsupportfrommaterialinterests; therelationship
opmentsin theareasoftheirresponsibility, and hu- betweenthetwoneedsto be exploredfurther. Laterwork
manrightsofficers werenotexceptions to thisgen- needsto use a most-different systemsapproachin order
eral rule.Thus, once embassieshad been staffed to estimatetherelativeexplanatorypowerof themodi-
with human rightsofficers, a flowof messages fiedideational approach. Other empiricalavenues in-
startednotifying ofhumanrightscon- clude potentiallydisconfirming cases, such as the U.S.
Washington
ditionsinproblemcountries. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency,and non-
Thesemessages began,
in thefirst to informtheState Americancases.
instance, Department
ofhumanrights Theoretically, the resultssuggesta need forthebu-
problems.... Thus,onceWashing-
ton becameawareof thedetailsof humanrights reaucraticpoliticsparadigmto movebeyonddescription
webegantothinkofwaysofdealingwith
violations, towardspositivetheoriesof action.Organizationaltheo-
thoseissues.(1992,47-48) riescan borrowfromtheideas approachin formulating
the originsof bureaucraticpreferences, as well as the
The Reaganadministration madesignificantchanges strategysetavailableto organizations. Similarly,bureau-
to the HumanitarianAffairsbureau. These changesal- craticpolitics is a crucial interveningvariable forthe
teredthefoundingideas of theHA bureau,changingthe ideas approach and should be integratedinto thatre-
verydefinitionofhumanrights.In thisalteredform,how- searchprogram.The resultsalso suggestthefruitfulness
ever,theideas promotedby HA spreadto therestof the of combiningrationalistand constructivistmodes of
Statedepartment Bytheend ofReagan'ssec-
bureaucracy. analysis.The cases demonstratethe effectof organiza-
ond term,human rightswereacceptedas an important tionalnormsas wellas thestrategic calculationsmade by
componentoftheAmlerican nationalinterest. actorsto spreadthosenorms.
IDEAS, BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS, AND THE CRAFTING OF FOREIGN POLICY 747

Finally,thisarticlesuggeststhatideationalentrepre- 1888-1928." Studies in AmericanPolitical Development


neursfacea tradeoff in institutionalizing
ideas.An insu- 12:162-203
latedagencyhas theadvantageof makingan immediate Checkel,Jeffrey. 1997.Ideas and International PoliticalChange.
New Haven:YaleUniversity Press.
effect, butovertimethateffect is muchlesslikelyto grow.
Cingranelli,David, and Thomas Pasquarello. 1985. "Human
An embeddedagencyis much less likelyto havean im- RightsPracticesand theDistributionofU.S. ForeignAid to
mediateimpactand overtimemightnothaveanyimpact Latin AmericanCountries."AmericanJournalofPolitical
at all. However,it mightalso acquiremuch moreinflu- Science29:539-563.
encethana horizontally autonomousagency.How entre- Clute, Judith.1962. "Personnel Management in the Peace
preneursmake thisdecision is a subject forfuturere- Corps."PublicPersonnel Review23:163-167.
search. Cobbs,Elizabeth.1996."Decolonization,theCold War,and the
Foreign Policy of the Peace Corps." Diplomatic History
20:79-105.
ManuscriptsubmittedJune16,1999.
Cobbs Hoffman,Elizabeth. 1998. All You Need Is Love: The
Final manuscript
received
April17,2000. Peace Corpsand theSpiritofthe1960s.Cambridge:Harvard
University Press.
Cohen,Stephen.1982."ConditioningU.S. SecurityAssistance
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