Public choice theory and the illusion of American grand strategy : how generals, weapons manufacturers, and foreign governments shape American foreign policy / Richard Hanania.

Hanania, Richard [Browse]
  • Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2022.
  • ©2022
223 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.


Routledge studies in US foreign policy [More in this series]
Summary note
"This book argues that while the US president makes foreign policy decisions based largely on political pressures, it is concentrated interests that shape the incentive structures in which he and other top officials operate. The author identifies three groups most likely to be influential: government contractors, the national security bureaucracy, and foreign governments. This book shows that the public choice perspective is superior to a theory of grand strategy in explaining the most important aspects of American foreign policy, including the war on terror, policy towards China, and the distribution of US forces abroad. Arguing that American leaders are selected to respond to public opinion, not necessarily according to their ability to formulate and execute long terms plans, the author shows how mass attitudes are easily malleable in the domain of foreign affairs due to ignorance with regards to the topic, the secrecy that surrounds national security issues, the inherent complexity of the issues involved, and most importantly, clear cases of concentrated interests. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of American Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis and Global Governance"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Introduction
  • American grand strategy and the unitary actor model
  • The public choice model of foreign policy
  • The rogue superpower
  • Build, then balance : the US and its rivals
  • American sanctions : ineffective, immoral, politically convenient
  • The War on Terror from the public choice perspective
  • Conclusion : understanding and changing American foreign policy.
  • 9781032121796
  • 1032121793 (hardcover)
  • 9781032121802 (paperback)
  • 1032121807 (paperback)
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