The greatest of all state secrets is how leaders make and implement decisions affecting millions of lives. This book explains the foreign policy-making process of the U.S. Government, particularly the State Department. It vividly describes the colorful personalities who have held the highest posts and the battles that have pitted agencies, individuals, and ideologies against each other.
The book probes the reasons for the relative decline of the State Department and the rise of the National Security Council staff and White House advisors. It shows how each president organizes the foreign policy system in his own way and why,in the aftermath of the policy-making revolution spawned by Henry Kissinger, the structure has increasingly broken down or interfered with successful decision making.
Tracing the development of the diplomatic apparatus throughout American history, Secrets of State demonstrates how foreign policy rose from a neglected corner to become the primary preoccupation of U.S. leaders faced with the growing complexities of international crises. Much of the book concentrates on the present, including the types of people involved in the glamorous foreign policy process, how the system shapes them, why some people succeed, and why many more of them fail. Included is a detailed analysis of why the Carter and Reagan administrations, despite their sharp political differences, made many of the same mistakes in such crisis areas as Central America and the Middle East.
About the Author:
Barry Rubin is a Council on Foreign Affairs Fellow and a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran.show more