Domestic Issues and U.S. Foreign Policy

by Marten van Heuven


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In a democracy, foreign policy will be shaped by domestic issues. Three are currently under discussion: The balance between federal and state responsibilities, the size of the federal government (and the related issue of balancing the budget), and America's role in the post Cold War world. The debate has triggered a variety of widely disparate views. Nonetheless, the US may be expected to move abroad in an incremental and pragmatic way, influenced by tighter resources, caution about new commitments, a touch of suspicion with respect to international organizations, domestic concerns (such as drugs, terrorism and protectionism) and, as always, by demonstrable American values.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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