CONSTRUCTING THE IRON CAGE: THE 1947 NATIONAL SECURITY ACT

This article, in my opinion, illustrates the use of problem–>reaction–>solution based methods for institutional “reform” of existing and fledgling governments, and their role in the construction of a totalitarian regime/empire – the birth of “national security”.
-H.N.-

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By Douglas Stuart

Introduction:

Proponents and critics of sociologically-informed approaches to the study of international relations agree on one thing: There is a need for more empirical research on the circumstances under which “conceptions of self and interest” which guide a nation’s foreign policy are institutionalized.2 One reason why there are still very few studies of the genesis of a nation’s foreign policy is the traditional historiographic problem of infinite regression. (Should a study of the ideational and institutional elements of German Weltpolitik begin with Bismarck’s arrival in 1862 or his removal in 1890?) From time to time, however, history provides us with a relatively unambiguous starting point for a particular story. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is one such event. This incident had such a powerful generative effect on the U.S. national security bureaucracy that we are justified in calling this network of institutions the “Pearl Harbor system.” This monograph will identify the defining elements of the Pearl Harbor system, by recourse to the debates which took place between 1941 and the passage of the 1947 National Security Act (NSA). The participants in these debates were, in the truest sense, “present at the creation” of an entirely new approach to American foreign policy.3 I will discuss how the interplay of their differing goals, concerns, and interests culminated in this extraordinarily ambitious piece

CONSTRUCTING THE IRON CAGE: THE 1947 NATIONAL SECURITY ACT

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