Impact of Public Opinion on U. S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam: Constraining the Colossus

Impact of Public Opinion on U. S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam: Constraining the Colossus

by Richard Sobel

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Overview

Impact of Public Opinion on U. S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam: Constraining the Colossus by Richard Sobel

How strongly does public opinion effect the making of U.S. foreign policy? In The Impact of Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy Since Vietnam, Richard Sobel provides a compelling answer to this provocative question that has long stirred spirited debate among scholars, activists, and policy makers. The book explains how public attitudes have affected the making of U.S. foreign policy within the tension between theoretical views of what the role of public opinion should be in a democracy and the actual historical records reflecting its influence. Focusing on four of the most prominent foreign interventions of the last generation-the Vietnam War, the Nicaraguan contra funding controversy, the Persian Gulf War, and the Bosnia crisis-the book demonstrates that public opinion constrained but did not set American foreign policy. The cases provide detailed information on the events, public attitudes, and policies for each of these four major U.S. conflicts. The chapters support the arguments through insights drawn from the words of decision-makers in public statements, meeting records, and memoirs, as well as from interviews with some of the principal actors in foreign policy decision-making, including three former secretaries of state and four former secretaries of defense. The book also explores how public sentiment about a specific crisis emerges over time and how it is often tied to the climate of interventionist and noninterventionist opinion. Clearly written, The Impact of Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy Since Vietnam is an essential text for courses in American government, public opinion, political behavior, and American foreign policy. It will also have strong appeal to scholars, policy makers, and general readers who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the politics behind some of the most important conflicts of recent times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195105278
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 01/28/2001
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Richard Sobel is a Political Scientist at Harvard University and Senior Research Associate of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

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