By Robert M. Uriu

This ebook chronicles how a debatable set of coverage assumptions concerning the eastern economic system, referred to as revisionism, rose to develop into the foundation of the exchange coverage strategy of the Clinton management. within the context of becoming worry over Japan's expanding fiscal power, revisionists argued that Japan represented a particular kind of capitalism that used to be inherently closed to imports and that posed a risk to U.S. high-tech industries. Revisionists endorsed a "managed exchange" resolution within which the japanese govt will be compelled to put aside a percentage of the marketplace for international items. the writer describes the position that quite a few American lecturers, govt officers, and company leaders performed in constructing revisionist idea. Revisionism used to be at its top simply because the Clinton management got here into workplace. the writer makes use of broad interviews with coverage makers to track the interior discussions contained in the Clinton White apartment, which culminated within the adoption of revisionist coverage after which to calls for for "results-oriented" exchange agreements through the Framework negotiations. This ebook information how Japan refused to just accept those controlled alternate recommendations, and fought to discredit revisionism and to rally international aid opposed to American unilateralism.

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Clearly, at times, policy makers try to use assumptions strategically or instrumentally to hide ulterior motives. Furthermore, it can be difficult to tell when a set of policy assumptions is sincerely believed in. That is, policy makers very often, or perhaps always, ‘spin’ their analyses in selfserving ways. These are problems that all ideational analyses must deal with. My view is that these weaknesses are not fatal in that careful analysts can often discern when policy assumptions are truly operating, even if this can never be done with mathematical precision or complete certainty.

IR theorists may seek to reduce interests and assumptions to single-factor analysis, but policy makers cannot. Clinton’s championing China’s entry into the WTO is one example that touched on the whole range of US foreign policy interests—strategic, political, economic, humanitarian, environmental, and others. Policy makers had to decide whether these or other issues were actually relevant to China policy, and the value and priority attached to each. Would more international trade with China make it an interdependent, status quo oriented nation, or does it only increase its potential military power?

When the North Korean economy began to collapse in the mid-1990s, the US government might have defined the issue as a humanitarian one, since estimates were that millions of North Korean civilians would die as the result. Or, policy makers might have conceived of the situation as an opportunity to end the Kim regime and solve nuclear proliferation concerns once and for all. Instead, officials ended up focusing mostly on the incredible costs of what was seen as imminent conflict. This assumption was based on the view that Kim Jong Il would never give up power quietly, but rather would lash out in desperation if his regime were seriously threatened.

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