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Three Approaches to Presidential Foreign Policy-Making in the Twenty-First Century

The Executive, the Magistrate, and the Maverick

Luis da Vinha and Anthony Dutton

Political scientists have long determined that a president’s relationships with his advisors is crucial in determining an administration’s policies. Over the last several decades, scholars of the presidency have paid particular attention to the advisory structures and processes involved in foreign policy decision-making. Their work has contributed to the development and refinement of three presidential management models to help frame the analysis of foreign policy-making: (1) formalistic model, (2) collegial model, and (3) competitive model. This book analyzes the management models employed by presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump throughout their presidencies by employing a structured-focus comparison method that is framed on a set of general and standardized questions used to analyze a series of case studies involving their Middle East policies. The book offers the first systematic comparative analysis of presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump’s management of foreign policy crises.
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11. The World from Mar- a- Lago: Deciding to Kill Qasem Suleimani


11 The World from Mar-a-Lago: Deciding to Kill Qasem Suleimani

Trump’s decision to stand down after Iran successfully targeted a U.S. unmanned surveillance drone did not allay the tensions in the Middle East. Instead, bellicosity continued to grow as the U.S. and Iran gradually intensified their tit-for-tat exchanges. In fact, less than one week after deciding not to strike Iran, the Trump administration imposed additional sanctions on the country’s religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Taylor, 2019). In an attempt to show its resolve, the administration also deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar to defend U.S. forces and personnel in the region. The F-22 Raptor’s capacity to target and destroy Iranian surface-to-air missile batteries such as the S-300 system were intended to serve as an additional deterrent (Lendon, 2019).

However, despite the administration’s best intentions to constrain Tehran, on July 1, 2019, international inspectors announced that Iran had breached the critical limit established in the JCPOA on how much nuclear fuel it could possess (Sanger, 2019c). A week later, Tehran informed the international community that it had surpassed the 3.67 uranium enrichment cap and would move to increase those levels even further, while emphasizing that it would do so “for peaceful purposes only” (Specia, 2019). As Iran slowly extricated itself from some of the provisions of the JCPOA, the Trump administration doubled down on its policy aimed at punishing members of the regime. More precisely, on July 31, 2019, the administration extended sanctions to Iran’s foreign minister,...

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