Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracy

Lawrence Davidson

in Foreign Policy, Inc.

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125244
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135021 | DOI:
Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracy

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This chapter suggests that the American political system is a factocracy, a democracy not of individuals but of competing interest groups or factions. Using their collective resources, factions are able to influence politicians and government officials, thus shaping legislation and policy in accordance with their special interests. In the case of foreign policy formulation, the effectiveness of special interests is helped along by the normal indifference the general public shows toward events abroad, in effect making the process privatized. The final part of this chapter provides a brief look at how factocracy emerged in the US and how it has helped shape the country's foreign policy in events dating back to the time of the founding fathers until the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War.

Keywords: foreign policy; factocracy; factionalism; lobbies; national interest; special interest groups

Chapter.  11931 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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