In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BUILDING A. NEW CONSENSUS Introduction Dt "uring the past dozen years, the number and intensity of contentious issues in U.S. foreign and defense policy, already severe since the mid-1960s, have risen markedly and now threaten a serious breakdown in the policy process. On issue after issue, citizens, their elected representatives , and appointed officials remain locked in policy controversies. Each new "final decision" is a mere introduction to the next round of discussions or the next vote. With apparently nothing ever settled, this polarization on each controversy makes it even more difficult to confront the real problems facing the country as the United States approaches the end of both this administration and the twentieth century. A major reason for this state of affairs may well be the tendency shown by each administration, whether Democratic or Republican, to dissociate from the positions—and, even more, from the rhetoric—of its predecessor. This tendency has undercut the continuity and cohesion of U.S. policies. In the process a vague and diffuse search for multipartisanship —one majority per issue, one issue per majority—has supplanted the earlier and steady reality of bipartisanship. Unless this trend is broken soon, the resulting policy impasses will undermine the nation's posture in world affairs. The longer it proves impossible to develop the consensus necessary to advance the policy process toward realistic bipartisan goals, the more rapidly these adverse consequences are likely to come to fruition. Other nations will see the United States as an irresponsible and unreliable player in world political, military , and economic affairs. Earlier this year The Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) launched a program designed to identify a "middle ground" where a bipartisan consensus can be built on significant issues of immediate relevance to vital U.S. interests. Two of the initial reports released thus far 1 2 SAIS REVIEW are reproduced below. They analyze the critical issues offiscal constraints and alliance relations. Each report includes a set of recommendations that developed from a working memorandum and was signed by a group of twelve distinguished Americans with substantial experience at the highest levels of the U.S. government. In each case the wide differences that might separate group members politically did not prevent the compromises required to permit the consensus sought. Our preoccupation was neither with ideology nor with partisan politics but with a pragmatic and competent analysis of domestic and international issues and challenges. Harold Brown Chairman Fiscal Policy and Foreign Policy Michael BlumenthalFelix Rohatyn Harold BrownJames Schlesinger Melvin LairdBrent Scowcroft Rudolph PennerWilliam Simon Peter PetersonCyrus Vance Alice RivlinPaul Volcker X ie recommendations below, and the general thrust (though not every sentence) of the following working memorandum on Fiscal Policy and Foreign Policy, were endorsed by Michael Blumenthal, Harold Brown, Melvin Laird, Rudolph Penner, Peter Peterson, Alice Rivlin, Felix Rohatyn, James Schlesinger, Brent Scowcroft, William Simon, Cyrus Vance, and Paul Volcker. 1.An active leadership role for the United States in the world is fundamental to global peace and prosperity. But the United States cannot indefinitely exercise such a role without getting its own fiscal house in order. 2.The present budget process both in the executive branch and the Congress is not working, and is probably not workable. The process should be streamlined, regularized, and, to the extent possible, less politicized. With that in mind, careful attention should be given to two-year appropriation cycles; the line-item veto or (as a more practical expression of Congress 's willingness to see its power limited) enhanced presidential rescission authority that would change current practice whereby inaction by either House kills any proposed rescission of budget authority after forty-five days of continuous session; consolidation of committee structures for considering budget requests on Capitol Hill; and abandonment of continuing resolutions. 3.In the search for budget savings, all possible sources of spending cuts must be carefully considered. With annual fiscal deficits of around $150 billion projected for the indefinite future no large expenditure programs—including non means tested entitlements— can be "off limits." Sacrifices should be fairly shared. But to ignore large expenditure programs is to pretend that significant results can follow from insignificant actions. 4 SAIS REVIEW 4.Revenue increases...