Presidents, Domestic Politics, and the International Arena

Douglas L. Kriner

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Presidents, Domestic Politics, and the International Arena

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Presidency scholarship on foreign policy has systematically minimized the importance of other domestic political actors in constraining presidential discretion in the international arena. When choosing their foreign policy strategies, presidents look to the partisan balance of power on Capitol Hill, anticipate the amount of leeway Congress will grant them to pursue their policy preferences, and adjust their conduct of policy making accordingly. The article then draws on literatures from within American politics and international relations to identify three mechanisms through which other domestic political actors can retain some measure of influence over the president's conduct of the nation's IR, even when they are unable to legally compel him to change course. It finally explores the ways in which political and strategic considerations moderate the capacity and willingness of Congress, the courts, and organized interests to use these mechanisms to influence presidential decision making in the international arena.

Keywords: American president; domestic politics; foreign policy; international arena; Congress; courts; organized interests; presidential decision making

Article.  14336 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; International Relations

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