The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs

The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs

The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs

The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs

Synopsis

In this provocative book, Peter Gries directly challenges the widely held view that partisan elites on Capitol Hill are out of touch with a moderate American public. Dissecting a new national survey, Gries shows how ideology powerfully divides Main Street over both domestic and foreign policy and reveals how and why, with the exception of attitudes toward Israel, liberals consistently feel warmer toward foreign countries and international organizations, and desire friendlier policies toward them, than conservatives do. And because most Congressional districts have become hyper-partisan, many politicians today cater not to the "median voter" in their districts, but to the primary voters who elect them. The perverse incentives of the U.S. electoral system, therefore, are empowering the ideological extremes, contributing to elite partisanship over American foreign policy.

The Politics of American Foreign Policy weaves seamlessly together in-depth examinations of the psychological roots and foreign policy consequences of the liberal-conservative divide, the cultural, socio-racial, economic, and political dimensions of American ideology, and the moral values and foreign policy orientations that divide Democrats and Republicans. Within this context, the book explores in detail why American liberals and conservatives disagree over US policy relating to Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, and international organizations such as the UN.

Excerpt

David L. Boren

Our dysfunctional political system is a national embarrassment.

Whether the issue is the budget, gun control, health care, or immigration, the executive and legislative branches are unable to work together to solve the nation’s problems. Partisan posturing has pushed out bipartisanship and compromise. Cooperation between liberals and conservatives is becoming a quaint memory.

U.S. foreign policy is increasingly hamstrung by partisan politics as well. From Europe to the Middle East to China, Democrats and Republicans not only cannot agree; they are disinclined to work together to promote the national interest. Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” was comprised of men and women who risked their lives to advance the national interest. Where is that spirit now? Senator Arthur Vandenberg, a conservative who was the champion of bipartisanship during World War II, laid the foundations for the Marshall Plan and a bipartisan foreign policy. Where are his successors today?

When I chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 1980s and 1990s, I was able to work with my Republican colleagues on bipartisan solutions to our nation’s security challenges. Intelligence Committee voting was usually unanimous. In fact, we never divided along strict party lines in any of our rare roll call votes.

Those days are long gone. Voting in most congressional committees today divides along partisan lines. The wise agreement that “politics should stop at the water’s edge” has become a relic of the past.

David L. Boren is the president of the University of Oklahoma. He has also served Oklahoma as governor (1975-79) and U.S. senator (1979-94). He was the longest-serving chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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