The controversy which has surrounded the deployment of American troops in Europe is very revealing not only about some of the substantive problems involved in Atlantic relations but also about the role of the Senate in the formulation of American foreign and military policy. It is illustrative too of some of the changes which occurred between the late 1940s and late 1960s in the approach of Republican and Democratic senators to American commitments overseas. Consequently, this assessment of the controversy is divided into several sections. The first examines the attitudes in the Senate to the American commitment to Europe: it focuses on questions about burden-sharing and responsibility-sharing in the alliance, questions which for a variety of reasons came to the fore once again in the first half of the 1980s. The second section takes this a little further and assesses the changes which took place between 1951 and the early 1970s in the attitudes of both Democrats and Republicans to the American deployment of ground troops in Western Europe. The third section looks at the controversy in terms of the relationship between the President and Congress. It not only considers why the congressional protests occurred over the troops but also assesses the reactions these elicited from the Executive, and tries to explain why, in both 1951 and the 1966 to 1975 period, presidential policies ultimately prevailed. The final section considers the prospects for another resurgence of the pressure for troop reductions.
KeywordsGreat Debate American Foreign Policy Defence Effort Military Presence American Troop
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Notes and References
- 1.Stewart Alsop, New York Herald Tribune, 6 April 1951, quoted in W. Truitt, ‘The Troops to Europe Decision: The Process, Politics and Diplomacy of a Strategic Commitment’, PhD diss (New York: Columbia University, 1968) pp. 420–1.Google Scholar
- 2.H. B. Shill III, ‘Senate Activism and Security Commitments: The Troops-to-Europe and National Commitments Resolutions’, PhD diss (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1973) p. 495.Google Scholar
- 3.M. Oakeshott, ‘On being Conservative’ in Rationalism in Politics (London: Methuen, 1962) p. 169.Google Scholar
- 4.For a useful analysis of ways in which the President can exert influence in Congress, see G. C. Edwards III, Presidential Influence in Congress (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1980).Google Scholar
- 7.See T. M. Franck and E. Weisband, Foreign Policy By Congress (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
- 8.See L. Radway, ‘Towards the Europeanisation of NATO’, Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 2 (Summer 1983) 129–48. The implications of possible troop reductions are discussed in P. Williams (ed), U.S. Troops in Europe: Issues and Choices, Chatham House Paper (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984).Google Scholar