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Author Dietrich, John W
Title Interest groups and the making of United States foreign policy in the post-Cold War era
book jacket
Descript 269 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 59-01, Section: A, page: 0302
Adviser: Steven R. David
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Johns Hopkins University, 1998
In the post-Cold War era, interest groups actively seek to influence U.S. foreign policy. Until recently, few groups organized to promote specific foreign policy interests and those that did faced a decision-making system that allowed limited access or policy influence. Beginning in the early-1970s and culminating with the end of the Cold War, the foreign policy-making system's structure, its agenda, and the international environment all underwent a number of changes. These changes helped spur the organization of hundreds of new interest groups, and gave interest groups new points of access, new issues around which to organize, and more latitude to challenge executive branch policy choices
With the advent of this new policy-making system, those interested in the making of U.S. foreign policy must now reexamine three questions: How much access do interest groups have to decision-makers? What roles do interest groups play in the policy process? Do interest groups influence policy outcomes? In answering these questions, one must remember that, while activity and access to decision-makers may be necessary for interest group influence, neither is sufficient for, nor should either be equated with, actual influence. Government decision-making is a complicated process, so any complete study of interest groups in the contemporary foreign policy-making system must examine their efforts in the broader context of the varied domestic and international factors that shape decisions
Three recent policy debates that stimulated significant interest groups activity, namely China's Most Favored Nation status, U.S. policy toward Haiti, and U.S. intervention in Somalia, are examined. For each case, a review of the existing primary and secondary sources is supplemented by interviews with government and interest group officials
The case studies demonstrate that interest groups now have greater access to decision-makers, although limits remain. Also, interest groups play important auxiliary roles in the policy system, particularly by helping set the government's agenda and providing background information and policy analysis. Still, interest groups are weak relative to other policy actors, and a broader national interest shapes policy choices. Thus, interest group influence on foreign policy outcomes is, and likely will remain, only minor
School code: 0098
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 59-01A
Subject History, United States
Political Science, General
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Alt Author The Johns Hopkins University
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