ISBN-10:
0271037547
ISBN-13:
9780271037547
Pub. Date:
06/30/2011
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs: How Public Opinion Affects Presidential Decision Making

Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs: How Public Opinion Affects Presidential Decision Making

by Thomas Knecht

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Overview

Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs: How Public Opinion Affects Presidential Decision Making

Do American presidents consider public opinion when making foreign policy decisions? In a democracy, it is generally assumed that citizen preferences inform public policy. For a variety of reasons, however, foreign policy has always posed a difficult challenge for democratic governance. In Paying Attention to Foreign Affairs, Thomas Knecht offers new insights into the relationship between public opinion and U.S. foreign policy. He does so by shifting our focus away from the opinions that Americans hold and toward the issues that grab the public’s attention. Policy making under the glare of public scrutiny differs from policy making when no one is looking. As public interest in foreign policy increases, the political stakes also rise. A highly attentive public can then force presidents to choose foreign policies that are less politically risky but usually less effective. By tracking the ebb and flow of public attention to foreign policy, this book offers a method of predicting when presidents are likely to lead, follow, or simply ignore the American public.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271037547
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2011
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Thomas Knecht is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Westmont College.

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Preface and Acknowledgments

A Note on the Surveys

Introduction

1. Foreign Policy in the Shadows and the Spotlight

2. The Five Stages of Decision Making

3. Patterns of Public Attention

4. The Persian Gulf Crisis: Problem Definition and Option Generation

5. Operation Desert Storm: Decision, Implementation, and Review

6. The Ethiopian Famine: Problem Definition and Option Generation

7. The Ethiopian Famine: Decision, Implementation, and Review

Conclusion

Appendix A: Quantitative Methods

Appendix B: Case Study Methods

Bibliography

Index

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