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Attentive Public

That portion of the general public that pays attention to policy issues.

Cold War

The ideological, political, and economic confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II.


A U.S. diplomatic policy adopted by the Truman administration to contain Communist power within its existing boundaries.

Defense Policy

A subset of national security policies having to do with the U.S. armed forces.


A French word meaning a relaxation of tensions. The term characterized U.S.-Soviet relations as they developed under President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


The process by which states carry on political relations with each other settling conflicts among nations by peaceful means.

Economic Aid

Assistance to other nations in the form of grants, loans, or credits to buy the assisting nation's products.

Foreign Policy

A nation's external goals and the techniques and strategies used to achieve them.

Foreign Policy Process

The steps by which foreign policy goals are decided and acted on.

Intelligence Community

The government agencies that gather information about the capabilities and intentions of foreign governments or that engage in convert actions.

Iron Curtain

The term used to describe the division of Europe between the Soviet bloc and the West coined by Winston Churchill.

Isolationist Foreign Policy

A policy of abstaining from an active role in international affairs or alliances, which characterized U.S. foreign policy toward Europe during most of the 1800s.

Military-Industrial Complex

The mutually beneficial relationship between the armed forces and defense contractors.

Monroe Doctrine

A policy statement made by President James Monroe in 1823, which set out three principles: (1) European nations should not establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, (2) European nations should not intervene in the affairs of independent nations of the Western Hemisphere, and (3) the United States would not interfere in the affairs of European nations.

Moral Idealism

A philosophy that sees nations as normally willing to cooperate and to agree on moral standards for conduct.

National Security Policy

Foreign and domestic policy designed to protect the nation's independence and political and economic integrity policy that is concerned with the safety and defense of the nation.

Negative Constituents

Citizens who openly oppose the government's policies.

Normal Trade Relations (NTR) Status

A status granted through an international treaty by which each member nation must treat other members at least as well as it treats the country that receives its most favorable treatment. This status was formerly known as most-favored-nation status.

Political Realism

A philosophy that sees each nation acting principally in its own interest.

Soviet Bloc

The Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries that installed Communist regimes after World War II and were dominated by the Soviet Union.

Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I)

A treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union to stabilize the nuclear arms competition between the two countries. SALT I talks began in 1969, and agreements were signed on May 26, 1972.

Technical Assistance

The practice of sending experts in such areas as agriculture, engineering, or business to aid other nations.

Truman Doctrine

The policy adopted by President Harry Truman in 1947 to halt Communist expansion in southeastern Europe.

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