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11 - The impact of the USA on regime formation and implementation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2010

Thomas Giegerich
Affiliation:
Professor of Public Law, European Community Law, and Public International Law, University of Bremen; Director, Bremen Institute of Transnational Constitutional Law
Gerd Winter
Affiliation:
Universität Bremen
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Summary

The US attitude towards international regimes in general

Isolationism, unilateralism, and multilateralism as ever competing trends in US foreign policy-making

Three general approaches to foreign policy have struggled to gain control over the US decision-making process in the past: isolationism, unilateralism, and multilateralism. Each of these approaches has prevailed at one time or another but never dominated this process unchallenged. Foreign policy decisions are therefore usually based on a compromise which includes elements of all three of these trends to a varying degree. The fact that the President and Congress represent a variety of different opinions with regard to the formulation of foreign policy goals, and the fact that the President as well as Congress is involved in the formulation of policy goals, guarantees the inclusion of the three approaches mentioned in the decision-making process. Usually, the President will lean towards either unilateralism or multilateralism, while Congress will introduce a counter-balance of either multilateralism or unilateralism, and also an element of isolationism. This applies to international regimes of any kind, not only to environmental law, but conflicts between the President and Congress have prevented the USA from ratifying major international environmental agreements. One example is the Basle Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Type
Chapter
Information
Multilevel Governance of Global Environmental Change
Perspectives from Science, Sociology and the Law
, pp. 275 - 304
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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