Foreign Policy Leadership Project, 1976-1996 (ICPSR 2614)

Version Date: Feb 3, 1999 View help for published

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Ole R. Holsti; James N. Rosenau

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The Foreign Policy Leadership Project (FPLP) has conducted extensive quadrennial mail surveys of elite civilian and military opinion since 1976. The cohort varies from year to year, and is drawn from organizations such as Who's Who, labor leadership, the Department of Defense, foreign service officers, the National War College, the press corps, politicians, and clergy leaders. Survey topics focus on United States foreign policy and foreign affairs. Specific issues vary from year to year, although a series of topics are repeated throughout the years. These topics include the importance of foreign policy goals such as containing communism, improving the global standard of living, defending United States allies, protecting United States interests abroad, strengthening the United Nations, combating world hunger, protecting the environment, controlling world population, and ending the illegal drug trade. Respondents are also asked to rate United States effectiveness in those areas. Additional recurring topics include the causes of war, approaches to world peace, threats to national security, and contemporary domestic issues. The theme of Part 1, 1976 Data, was the effect that the Vietnam War has had on United States foreign policy. Those queried were asked to assess America's role in world policy, such as providing economic aid to poorer nations and preventing the destruction of Israel. Given a list of foreign policy questions, respondents were asked to indicate their position and how it was shaped by the Vietnam experience. Questions covered the "domino theory", the Angolan civil war, and the use of United States military power. Those queried were asked to assess possible consequences of the Vietnam War, including policies toward the Third World, and damage to the United States economy. Respondents were also asked to rate the significance of factors that may have prevented the United States from achieving its goal in Vietnam, such as Watergate, the media, and the role of the Soviets and the Chinese. Those queried were asked to assess the role political events and policies such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, and the 1962 blockade of Cuba played as steps leading to United States involvement in Vietnam. Part 2, 1980 Data, introduced the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and the situation in Afghanistan. Respondents' views were sought on implications of the Afghanistan situation for United States farmers, the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, foreign military bases, and Soviet foreign policy. Respondents' opinions were sought on current issues in United States foreign relations, such as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), human rights, the United States defense budget, the policy of detente, and policy in the Middle East. Those queried were asked to examine the lessons learned from the Iran hostage crisis, including the role of patience in foreign policy, the overthrow of the shah's regime, and dependence on oil from the Middle East. Part 3, 1984 Data, addressed political undertakings in Lebanon, El Salvador, Grenada, and Nicaragua. Respondents were asked about the implications of events related to the Middle East, including the 1983 truck bombing of United States Marines in Beruit, oil embargoes, and Soviet intentions in the region. Those queried were also asked for their opinions on current issues in American foreign relations, including Soviet-United States arms control negotiations and the defense of Western Europe, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Treaty. Views were also sought on recent United States foreign policies, such as opposition to a "nuclear freeze", failure to impose economic sanctions on South Africa for its policy of apartheid, and support of Great Britain after the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands. Part 4, 1988 Data, covered the topics of escorting Kuwait's oil tankers into the Persian Gulf, United States support of the Aquino government in the Philippines, aiding "contra" rebels in Nicaragua, and supporting rebels fighting the government in Afghanistan. Respondents were also asked about the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Their views were sought on cooperative efforts among nations to end terrorism, famine, the drug trade, and Third World debts. Those queried were asked what influenced their orientations toward foreign affairs, and the reliability of such information. Their views were sought on recent United States foreign policies, including the sale of arms to Iran and Saudi Arabia, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and refusal to invoke the War Powers Act. Other topics included the negative trade balance and Soviet foreign policy goals. Part 5, 1992 Data, focused on the effects of the Persian Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union on United States foreign policy. Respondents were asked for their opinions on the political, economic, and social implications of the end of the Cold War for the United States and its foreign policies. Those queried were asked to evaluate possible reasons for the changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, including the influence of western media, the failure of communism to provide a satisfactory standard of living, the United States military build-up, and the election of a Polish Pope in 1978. Their views were sought on recent United States foreign policies, including the removal of President Manuel Noriega from power in Panama, the withholding of diplomatic recognition from Croatia and Slovenia, the preservation of NATO, promoting a peace conference to bring Israel and its Arab neighbors to the negotiating table, and creating a trade-free zone with Canada. Part 6, 1996 Data, covered the November 1995 decision by President Bill Clinton to send American troops to Bosnia, and whether vital American interests were at stake. Respondents were asked for their opinions on the possible use of American military forces abroad under a variety of situations. Such scenarios included a Russian invasion of Western Europe, an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia, a Cuban attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, a North Korean invasion of South Korea, and a civil war in Mexico. Those queried were asked for their opinions on the United States role in the leadership of UN and NATO troops, the values that the United States government should promote, which world problems the United States should contribute to monetarily, and the role of the government in promoting the interests of the disadvantaged. Respondents' views were also sought on recent United States foreign policies, including providing humanitarian aid to Somalia, granting "most favored nation" trade status to China, sending peacekeeping forces to Haiti, supporting NATO expansion, and establishing diplomatic relations with Vietnam. For all parts, background information on respondents includes sex, education, occupation, frequency of world travel, military service record, political party, political orientation, and political involvement.

Holsti, Ole R., and Rosenau, James N. Foreign Policy Leadership Project, 1976-1996. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999-02-03.

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1976 -- 1996
  1. This collection has not been processed by ICPSR staff. ICPSR is distributing the data and documentation for this collection in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, hardcopy documentation has been converted to machine-readable form and variables have been recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Holsti, Ole R., and James N. Rosenau. Foreign Policy Leadership Project, 1976-1996. ICPSR02614-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999.