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National Security Policies

Analyzing the effect of the perception of the public and the media on the policies of presidents, it can be stated that the issue is rather twofold. On the one hand, the most apparent impact can be assumed to be through elections, where the increased criticism leads to a decline in popularity, which in turn can be reflected in election polls. On the other hand, such view can be seen in the long term only, while in short terms, it is not apparent whether such criticism can have any impact on the policies conducted by presidents or not. In that regard, the present paper will attempt to provide an analysis on the impact of criticism on the actions of presidents, specifically in terms of national security issues, arguing that there is no apparent effect of criticism on the actions of presidents. The policies are mostly related to counter terrorism measures on the national and international levels.

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First of all, it can e stated that the exact opposite of the problem stated in this paper is mostly true, i.e. US foreign policy and national security decisions do impact public opinion, where such opinion can vary from support to criticism, and even to domestic repercussions.1 The variety in religions, cultures and ethnicities within the United States as well as the involvement of the aforementioned factors in National Security issues clearly show demographics and cultural issues have an impact on US national security policy. However, the question is whether criticism from the public and the media, lead to that certain actions stop or particular policies abandoned in the short term. The short answer to such question is no. Taking the example of Bush administration, criticism of the policies that were undertaken did not influence the president’s actions, at least not in whether it should be taken or not. The policies include the focus on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the torture of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, and civil liberties violation enacted by the Patriot Act.2 Accordingly, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq within the initiatives of combating terrorism was also subject to criticism, namely the number of civilian victims. The activities Mostly the influence of such criticism was in the way a policy was implemented. Such factor is evident through the administration of George H. Bush and George W. Bush. In the first case, as admitted by then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, “even if public opinion was against us, we were still going to go [to war]”.3

In the case of Obama, it can be stated that the president is also criticized on several issues in national security, not only from the public, but from the political elites as well. The policies upon which Obama was criticized were also related to security, spying, and civil rights violations, mainly related to counterterrorism policies.4 The latest in the case of Obama can be seen through his position on the way terrorism suspect was handled, which was criticized by politicians from the Republican Party.5 The Iraq issue is also heavily criticized, especially in terms of spending. Nevertheless, no apparent steps were taken, at least to stop an action or change the strategy in the short term. A tendency can be seen in that the response to criticism is largely apparent when such criticism is addressed to the policies of the predecessor. However, the current issues are likely to remain as it is.

Thus, it can be concluded that criticism of certain policies are unlikely to influence such policies in the short terms, i.e. forcing the president to take an immediate action changing the policy. At the same time, long terms influence might be common, where policies are shaped according to many factors, including demographics, and cultural issues. Additionally, a response to criticism can be seen when such criticism is addressed toward the policies of the predecessor in presidency.


Holsti, O. R. (2004). Public opinion and American foreign policy (Rev. ed.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Sarkesian, S. C., Williams, J. A., & Cimbala, S. J. (2008). US national security : policymakers, processes, and politics (4th ed.). Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Wilson, S., & Kornblut, A. E. (2010). Criticism of Obama on national security likely to remain big issue. The Washington Post. Web.

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Tom Burghardt, “Illegal Programs Proliferate under Obama: Court Rules, Illegal Nsa Spying Continues”.

Washington Times, “Patriot Act Renewal Resisted by Bipartisan Group”.


  1. Sam C. Sarkesian, John Allen Williams, and Stephen J. Cimbala, Us National Security : Policymakers, Processes, and Politics, 4th ed. (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008), 16.
  2. Washington Times, “Patriot Act Renewal Resisted by Bipartisan Group”. Web.
  3. Ole R. Holsti, Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy, Rev. ed., Analytical Perspectives on Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004), 59.
  4. Tom Burghardt, “Illegal Programs Proliferate under Obama: Court Rules, Illegal Nsa Spying Continues”. Web.
  5. Scott Wilson and Anne E. Kornblut, “Criticism of Obama on National Security Likely to Remain Big Issue”. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "National Security Policies." December 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "National Security Policies." December 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'National Security Policies'. 9 December.

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