The Impact of Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam

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9780195105285: The Impact of Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy since Vietnam

How strongly does public opinion affect 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 policymakers. The book explains how public attitudes have affected the making of U.S. foreign policy. It also explores the tension between theoretical views of what the role of public opinion should be in a democracy and the actual historical records. 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. Sobel supports his argument with insights drawn from the words of decision-makers in public statements, records, and memoirs, as well as from interviews with 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 the most significant conflicts of recent times.

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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.

Review:

"Drawing on voluminous public opinion surveys and numerous interviews with senior policymakers, Richard Sobel illuminates the roles of public opinion on foreign policy by examining four cases-Vietnam, contra aid, the Gulf War, and Bosnia. His careful, balanced, and insightful account
represents a major contribution to our understanding of the extent to which public opinion does and does not constrain foreign policymakers. In our day, as polls and focus groups proliferate, this is a timely and important book for scholars and public officials alike."--Roger B. Porter, Harvard
University

"Based in scrupulous, objective scholarship, Richard Sobel's past work has been of high quality and has shown a keen desire to learn and benefit from the perspectives of policymakers. His well-received book on the contra aid controversy is characterized by an acute sense of the way political
forces impinge on the policymaking process. This new book, explaining how public attitudes constrained foreign policy from Vietnam to Bosnia, continues his fine contributions to our understanding of the ways in which U.S. policymakers have perceived and been influenced by the public's
preferences."--Richard H. Ullman, Princeton University

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Public Opinion in American Foreign Policy examines the role that public attitudes have played over the last generation in the making of United States foreign policy. It focuses 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. Through its examination of these events, the book argues and demonstrates that public opinion constrained but did not set American foreign intervention policy during the second half of the twentieth century. The book is perfect for use in political science or history courses on US foreign policy, and should also be attractive to the general reader interested in some of the most important conflicts of our time. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195105285

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Public Opinion in American Foreign Policy examines the role that public attitudes have played over the last generation in the making of United States foreign policy. It focuses 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. Through its examination of these events, the book argues and demonstrates that public opinion constrained but did not set American foreign intervention policy during the second half of the twentieth century. The book is perfect for use in political science or history courses on US foreign policy, and should also be attractive to the general reader interested in some of the most important conflicts of our time. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195105285

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