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Synopsis

The new edition of this leading reader for courses in American foreign policy offers students an up-to-date, highly accessible introduction to the broad array of domestic factors influencing U.S. policymakers. Editor James M. McCormick has carefully selected two dozen current insightful and sometimes controversial essays by a distinguished group of leading experts— scholars, journalists and public officials—including 11 new and 7 updated contributions.

In his introduction, McCormick evaluates the challenges facing U.S. foreign policy makers in recent years and assesses the Obama Administration’s successes and failures in its efforts to pursue a new direction in American foreign policy. The volume is then divided into three major parts with an opening essay by the editor to place each part in context and then a selection of essays that analyzes the topic in that part in more detail. Part I, "The Societal Environment," contains a series of articles on the position of interest groups, the impact of military experience, the effect of public opinion, and the role of elections and political parties on foreign policy. Part II, "The Institutional Setting," examines how various political institutions, such as Congress, the presidency, and various bureaucracies (e.g., the National Security Council, the intelligence community) shape American foreign policy. Part III, "Decision makers and Their Policymaking Positions," provides various case analyses over several administrations to illustrate how individuals and bureaucracies affect the foreign policy decision making at the highest levels of government.

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