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The Cold War at Home and Abroad

Domestic Politics and US Foreign Policy since 1945

From President Truman's use of a domestic propaganda agency to Ronald Reagan's handling of the Soviet Union during his 1984 reelection campaign, the American political system has consistently exerted a profound effect on the country's foreign policies. Americans may cling to the belief that "politics stops at the water's edge," but the reality is that parochial political interests often play a critical role in shaping the nation's interactions with the outside world.

In The Cold War at Home and Abroad: Domestic Politics and US Foreign Policy since 1945, editors Andrew L. Johns and Mitchell B. Lerner bring together eleven essays that reflect the growing methodological diversity that has transformed the field of diplomatic history over the past twenty years. The contributors examine a spectrum of diverse domestic factors ranging from traditional issues like elections and Congressional influence to less frequently studied factors like the role of religion and regionalism, and trace their influence on the history of US foreign relations since 1945. In doing so, they highlight influences and ideas that expand our understanding of the history of American foreign relations, and provide guidance and direction for both contemporary observers and those who shape the United States' role in the world.

This expansive volume contains many lessons for politicians, policy makers, and engaged citizens as they struggle to implement a cohesive international strategy in the face of hyper-partisanship at home and uncertainty abroad.

About the Authors

Andrew L. Johns is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. He is the author of Vietnam's Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War. He is also the editor of A Companion to Ronald Reagan and coeditor of Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations since 1945. He is the president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association in 2018–2019.

Mitchell B. Lerner is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. He has been a fellow at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and has held the Mary Ball Washington Distinguished Fulbright Chair at University College–Dublin. He is the author of The Pueblo Incident: A Spy Ship and the Failure of American Foreign Policy, which won the 2002 John Lyman Book Award for the best work of US Naval History. He is also the editor of Looking Back at LBJ: White House Politics in a New Light, and A Companion to Lyndon B. Johnson.

Review

"A fascinating look at the multiple ways in which politics and foreign policy intersect. From the political economy of states to the news media, the authors explode the myth that politics ever stop at the water's edge."—Julian E. Zelizer, author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society

"It's incredible to think that anyone would deny the importance of domestic politics in the conduct of American national security policy, yet historians still have not paid sufficient attention to this crucial relationship. As a corrective, two renowned experts have collected many of the field's future stars in this outstanding account of how domestic politics has influenced U.S. foreign relations. With a diverse array of approaches, methods, and topics, this wonderful book not only helps set the record straight, but also points to future directions of inquiry."—Andrew Preston, author of Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy

"This excellent collection of essays highlights just how influential domestic political forces can be on the conduct of US foreign relations. But more than that, the collection shows the diverse ways in which domestic political influences are understood, by incorporating the study of Congress and public opinion, non-governmental organizations and lobbyists, and themes including religion, economics and human rights."—Andrew Johnstone, author of Against Immediate Evil: American Internationalists and the Four Freedoms on the Eve of World War II. and co-editor of US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy: Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton

"Expertly conceived and edited, this timely and innovative volume explores the dynamic relationship between internal and external determinants of US foreign policy. Its essays showcase the rich diversity of writing on the nexus between domestic and international affairs, revealing the deep connections between what happens on both sides of the water's edge. Synthesizing traditional diplomatic history with the virtues of more recent scholarly approaches, these essays expand our understanding of the Cold War and highlight the complex web of interactions that shape the politics of policymaking."—Marc J. Selverstone, editor of A Companion to John F. Kennedy

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330 Pages
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