ON-Lion Letter

The John Hay Initiative's (JHI's) new book, Choosing to Lead:  American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World, contains "analyses and advice ... on what the next President should do in the foreign policy and national security arena," beings a chapter in the book by Peter Feaver and Will Inboden.  "But how the next President should do it is no less important.  History has shown that the organization and process of foreign policymaking is critical to achieving desired and desirable outcomes."

Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University, where he directs the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy.  Inboden is the executive director of and William Powers, Jr. Chair at the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas-Austin.  He is a former senior director for strategic planning at the National Security Council.

"Almost all Presidents experience some form of the 'paradox of presidential power':  the 'most powerful man in the world' often feels powerless to get his government to do what he wants," they continue in "Implementing and Effective foreign Policy."

"The solutions to the 'paradox of presidential power' are not to be found merely in crafting smarter policies, though that of course helps," according to Feaver and Inboden.  "The solutions lay in crafting a better national security policymaking process.

"The next President will make two very consequential decisions during the transition:  the size and composition of the National Security Council staff," they write.  "Here again, the next President must guard against over-correcting for the obvious shortcomings of the Obama Administration.

"In terms of size, the next President will almost certainly opt for a smaller, more elite staff than the one that has ballooned in the Obama years. ...  In terms of composition, the next President must make two decisions:  what is the appropriate political vs. career mix among the professional staff; and how to allocate the issues to directorates to reflect the President’s vision of the geopolitical landscape."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports JHI's Choosing to Lead project.

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