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The Politics of United States Foreign Policy

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy

Eighth Edition

August 2023 | 536 pages | CQ Press

What are the factors that shape and determine the foreign policy choices of the United States? The Politics of United States Foreign Policy helps students consider the players, processes, and politics that drive US decisions and involvement in foreign policy. Blending substance, theory, and stimulating analysis, James Scott and Jerel Rosati emphasize that society, government, and global forces play a role in the struggle over competing values when it comes to foreign policymaking. The book discusses historical patterns, the president’s ability to influence both at home and abroad, and the tension between democracy and national security. 

The Eighth Edition has been updated to cover developments since the end of the Trump administration, the transition to the Biden administration, the challenges of changing international and domestic contexts, and the increasingly partisan political environment. It also incorporates key recent national and international developments, including the global pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US global reengagement, and competition between the US and key rivals like China and Russia. 

Part I Introduction: The Context of US Foreign Policymaking
Chapter 1 Understanding the Politics of US Foreign Policy
Chapter 2 The Global and Historical Context: Power, Role, and Politics on the World Stage
Part II Government and the Policymaking Process
Chapter 3 The President and White House Leadership
Chapter 4 Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Department of State
Chapter 5 Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Department of State
Chapter 6 Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Intelligence Community
Chapter 7 Managing the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The National Security Council System
Chapter 8 The Foreign Economic Bureaucracy and the National Economic Council
Chapter 9 Congress and Interbranch Politics
Chapter 10 Explaining the Politics and Processes of Foreign Policymaking
Part III The Society and Domestic Politics
Chapter 11 The Public and Foreign Policy
Chapter 12 Interest Groups and Foreign Policy
Chapter 13 The Media and Foreign Policy
Part IV Conclusion
Chapter 14 Patterns, Processes, and Foreign Policymaking


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Of all the foreign policy textbooks on the market, this one is the best at balancing a discussion of institutions, history, and politics. If you want to teach foreign policy with only one book, this is probably the best one.

Jacob Wobig
Wingate University

A solid, comprehensive, and practical guide to how American foreign policy is actually made.

Dennis Jett
Penn State University and Former U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru

This book provides an in-depth view of the internal governmental factors that shape United States foreign policy. Students will find the deep-dive into the policy-making process fascinating.

John Ross
Fort Hays State University

This is a comprehensive and thorough discussion of the U.S. structure and mechanisms which influence our foreign policy.

Lydia Andrade
University of the Incarnate Word

A comprehensive, detailed, and well-written introduction to how foreign policy gets made in the United States.

Ronald Lee
Rockford University

James M. Scott

James M. Scott is the Herman Brown Chair and Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. His primary research and teaching interests are in international relations and foreign policy analysis and he has special interests in U.S. foreign policymaking, the role of Congress, and U.S. democracy promotion. He has authored/co-authored seven books and more than hundred journal articles, book chapters, other nonrefereed publications, review essays, and conference papers. During his career, Dr. Scott has earned over two dozen awards from students, faculty, administration, and professional associations including, most recently, the... More About Author

Jerel A. Rosati

Jerel Rosati is Professor Emeritus of International Studies and Political Science at the University of South Carolina. His area of specialization is the theory and practice of foreign policy, focusing on the United States policymaking process. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Argentina and Colombia, and a Visiting Scholar in Argentina, Armenia, China, and Somalia (in 1984). He also has been a Research Associate in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division (FAND) of the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) in Washington DC., President of the International Studies Association’s (ISA) Foreign Policy... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071902394