Cloth: 978-0-226-64461-5 | Paper: 978-0-226-64462-2 | Electronic: 978-0-226-64459-2
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ABOUT THIS BOOK
With world affairs so troubled, what kind of foreign policy should the United States pursue? Benjamin Page and Marshall Bouton look for answers in a surprising place: among the American people. Drawing on a series of national surveys conducted between 1974 and 2004, Page and Bouton reveal that—contrary to conventional wisdom—Americans generally hold durable, coherent, and sensible opinions about foreign policy. Nonetheless, their opinions often stand in opposition to those of policymakers, usually because of different interests and values, rather than superior wisdom among the elite. The Foreign Policy Disconnect argues that these gaps between leaders and the public are harmful, and that by using public opinion as a guideline policymakers could craft a more effective, sustainable, and democratic foreign policy.
Page and Bouton support this argument by painting a uniquely comprehensive portrait of the military, diplomatic, and economic foreign policies Americans favor. They show, for example, that protecting American jobs is just as important to the public as security from attack, a goal the current administration seems to pursue single-mindedly. And contrary to some officials’ unilateral tendencies, the public consistently and overwhelmingly favors cooperative multilateral policy and participation in international treaties. Moreover, Americans’ foreign policy opinions are seldom divided along the usual lines: majorities of virtually all social, ideological, and partisan groups seek a policy that pursues the goals of security and justice through cooperative means. Written in a clear and engaging style, The Foreign Policy Disconnect calls, in an original voice, for a more democratic approach to creating such a policy.
Benjamin I. Page is the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. He is the author or coauthor of, among other books, The Rational Public, Who Deliberates? and What Government Can Do.
Marshall M. Bouton has been president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations since 2001. He is the author of Agrarian Radicalism in South India and Korea at the Crossroads.
“Experts are often skeptical of public views on foreign policy, but this fascinating book challenges that conventional wisdom. Page and Bouton show that the experts are wrong and American collective public opinion on foreign policy is generally coherent, consistent, and sensible. Anyone who wants to understand American foreign policy should read this book.”
“This work will become a classic. Certainly no specialist on public opinion and foreign policy could afford to overlook it. Beyond that, it should be required reading for anyone who cares about American foreign policy, especially those who may be somewhat disturbed by recent trends toward unilateralism.”<Ole Holsti, Duke University>
“In its scope and detail, its array of levels of analysis, and above all, its engagement with politics itself, this study of public opinion has no equal.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: What Sort of Foreign Policy?
Taking Public Opinion Seriously
The Goals of Security and Justice
Friends and Foes in the World
Military Strength and the Use of Force
Economic Well-Being and Economic Justice
A Disconnect Between Policy Makers and the Public? - Benjamin I. Page, Lawrence R. Jacobs
[foreign policy, U.S. public, public opinion, democratic values]
This chapter shows that over the last thirty years there have been many substantial disagreements or gaps between foreign policy decision makers and the U.S. public. Indeed there has been something like a “disconnect” between the two. Moreover, there has been no discernible tendency for the gaps to narrow or disappear over time. These present serious problems for democratic values and constitute a challenge for formulating an effective foreign policy. (pages 201 - 226)
This chapter is available at:
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Conclusion: Foreign Policy and Democracy
Appendix. How Goals Cluster