Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
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This paper discusses how there is significant evidence to support the positive correlation between public support and military success. Three cases from the latter half twentieth century American foreign policy are analyzed: the Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War and the humanitarian intervention in Somalia. The paper examines how each case portrays the malignant force that public opinion can have upon foreign policy initiatives.
From the Paper:"Perhaps the most controversial and direct relationship between public opinion and military actions was the Vietnam War. Zaller's argument of politicians' reliance on the future of public opinion to judge whether policy initiatives are good are not, is clearly represented by LBJ's decision to escalate a war in Vietnam. Both Zaller and George C. Herring point out that LBJ's main goal in entering a war with Vietnam was to not be branded the president who lost Vietnam (Zaller, 250; Herring, 136). He feared the public backlash that would have occurred if he decided to not take action in Vietnam. It would have almost certainly cost him his reelection and severely hampered his desire to pass domestic programs like the Great Society. Possibility for immense public dissent pushed the United States into a war with Vietnam because of Johnson's political agenda. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 with Poster. New York City: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2001.
- Woods, James L. "U.S. Government Decision Making Processes during Humanitarian Operations in Somalia". Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Humanitarian Intervention. Oxford: Westview Press, 1997.
- Zaller, John. "Elite Leadership of Mass Opinion". Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War (American Politics and Political Economy Series). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1994.
- Zaller, John. "Strategic Politicians, Public Opinion, and the Gulf Crisis". Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War (American Politics and Political Economy Series). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1994.
Cite this Case Study:
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy (2009, May 31) Retrieved June 02, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/case-study/public-opinion-and-foreign-policy-114126/
"Public Opinion and Foreign Policy" 31 May 2009. Web. 02 June. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/case-study/public-opinion-and-foreign-policy-114126/>