Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2009
Changes in the domestic politics of East-West energy trade policy indicate a more general transformation of the domestic politics of American foreign policy. In the postwar period the basic, consensual pattern of congressional bipartisanship, executivebranch unity, interest-group collaboration, and a supportive public has been replaced by the conflictual pattern of an assertive Congress, a fragmented executive branch, antagonistic interest groups, and a divided public. These contrasting patterns are manifestations of structural changes in the domestic political economy. Along both political and economic dimensions, and differentiated according to whether the locus of pressure was group-specific or more general, what had been basic foundations of consensus became by the early 1970s fissures of conflict. Of particular significance were the weakening of the macropolitical foundations (the basic accord on foreignpolicy objectives and strategies) in the wake of both Vietnam and detente and the increased marginal value of the economic costs, both diffuse (macroeconomic) and particularistic (microeconomic), to be paid for economic coercion. In this transformed context, the state's support-building instruments of ideology and economic compensation were insufficient to build consensus. As a result, in this issue area and perhaps more generally, high levels of domestic constraints on the conduct of American foreign policy have become the rule rather than the exception.
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39. Interestingly, one of the few sectors of East-West trade in which the British and French did not participate during this period was the oil trade. Like the United States, they had the interests of oil-producing nations (either possessing oil within national borders or controlling it through foreign ownership). West Germany and Italy, in contrast, were oil-consumer nations with an interest in diversified and cheaper supplies of oil.
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71. High costs and engineering difficulties led to a change of plans: the already tapped Urengoi reserves, 150 miles to the south and only slightly less extensive, became the source of gas for this project. See Petroleum Economist, January 1982, p. 13, and U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), Technology and Soviet Energy Availability (Washington, D.C., 1981), pp. 19–76 and 370–82Google Scholar.
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85. Farmers had already been granted contract sanctity through legislation pushed by agricultural state legislators during the autumn of 1982 (i.e., during the campaign). The whole question of constraints on agricultural trade controls could be approached through the same analytic and historical approach here applied to the energy sector. The fate suffered by grain embargoer Jimmy Carter and the inviolability of grain trade amidst the Reagan administration's reversion to trade controls virtually everywhere else point to a similar pattern of politics with similar causality.
86. Opinion voiced by numerous interviewees, November 1983 and May 1984. The bill has been tied up in conference committee because it also contains controversial provisions concerning private investment in South Africa and the export to Alaskan oil. Final action is said to be unlikely until late 1984.
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