The wages of principle and power : Cyrus R. Vance and the making of foreign policy in the Carter administration
Sexton, Mary DuBois.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. On April 28, 1980, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance joined William Jennings Bryan in the exclusive club of U.S. secretaries of state who resigned in the twentieth century as a matter of principle. Cyrus Vance fought and lost a number of significant policy battles during the Jimmy Carter administration, but none prompted him to resign until President Carter decided to undertake a military operation to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. Vance's forceful but lone opposition to the mission within the administration was based on three factors: he believed the military rescue mission violated U.S. foreign policies; he argued that the mission would endanger the lives of the U.S. hostages and believed that negotiation could eventually secure the safe release of the hostages; and he was convinced the mission would fail. As significant as Vance's resignation was as a rare political act in U.S. history, it was his road to resignation, a road paved with numerous conflicts involving principle and power, which merits a detailed historical analysis, and provides valuable insights into the nature of leadership and the foreign policymaking process during the Carter administration. This study focuses on how the disparate values, leadership qualities, and strategic visions of Secretary Vance and President Carter helped to ensure that Vance would engage in substantive and bureaucratic battles from the first days of the administration until his resignation. Vance's struggles to hold Carter to what Vance believed were mutually-accepted principles were an outgrowth of several factors. Although Vance held a well-defined, consistent world view, Carter's statements and decisions over time revealed that he did not share some of Vance's key strategic principles, particularly those regarding the nature of Soviet power, the critical importance of a strategic arms agreement, and the desirability of separating human rights and Third World issues from the East-West context. Carter implemented a foreign policymaking structure that tilted the power in the system to National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, created opportunities for policy dissension, and ultimately undermined Vance's authority and influence. Finally, Vance and Carter embraced different codes of professional behavior that affected the decisionmaking process and policy outcomes.
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