You are here

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy

Seventh Edition
Additional resources:

January 2020 | 544 pages | CQ Press
“This is a deep and well-thought out framework for studying U.S. foreign policy. Its focus on institutions and decision-making sets it apart from other texts, and its ability to help students think systematically and empirically is a major plus”

—Matthew Zierler, Michigan State University

What are the factors that shape and determine the foreign policy choices of the United States?

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy helps students consider the players, processes, and politics that drive U.S. decisions and involvement in foreign policy. James Scott and Jerel Rosati emphasize that society, government, and global forces have a role to play in the struggle over competing values when it comes to foreign policymaking. The book discusses historical patterns, the president’s ability to influence both at home and abroad, and the tension between democracy and national security. 

Now at CQ Press, the Seventh Edition has been updated to cover developments since the end of the Obama administration, the transition to the Trump administration, the challenges of changing international and domestic contexts, and the increasingly partisan political environment. The authors provide a comprehensive text that blends substance, theory, and stimulating analysis. 

Chapter 1: Understanding the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy
Introduction: The Importance of Foreign Policy

Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy

Politics and Uncertainty in the Twenty-First Century

Chapter 2: The Global and Historical Context: Power, Role, and Politics on the World Stage
Introduction: The Global and Historical Context of the Contemporary Challenge

The Global Context: Patterns and Debates in U.S. Foreign Policy

Summary: The Global Context and the Challenge for U.S. Foreign Policy

Chapter 3: The President and White House Leadership
Introduction: The President and the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy

The Paradox of Presidential Power

The Presidency: The Person and the Office

Leadership from the White House

The Paradox in Practice: Patterns and Performance

Summary: The Challenges of Presidential Leadership

Chapter 4: Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The State Department
Introduction: The Foreign Bureaucracy and the State Department

Understanding Bureaucracy

The State Department at Home and Abroad

The Foreign Service Subculture

Role and Influence: The Decline of the State

The Secretary of State

The Future?

Chapter 5: Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Military Establishment
Introduction: The Department of Defense

The Nature of the Modern Military Establishment

Organizational Structure and Process

The Modern Military Subculture(s)

The DoD and the Use of Force

DoD and the Nature of the Modern Military Establishment


Chapter 6: Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Intelligence Community
The Purposes and Activities of Intelligence

The Major Intelligence Organizations

Patterns in the Intelligence Process

The CIA and Covert Operations

The Intelligence Community and U.S. Foreign Policymaking

Chapter 7: Understanding the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy: The Foreign Economic Bureaucracy
Organizing and Managing the Policy Process

The National Security Council System

The Evolving Nature and Role of the NSC System

The NSC System and Presidential Management in Perspective

Chapter 8: The National Security Council System: Presidential Management in Perspective
U.S. Foreign Economic Policy in Context

Relevant Governmental Agencies

Managing the Foreign Economic Bureaucracy

The National Economic Council and the High Policis of International Economics

The NEC and Foreign Economic Policymaking since the Clinton Administration

Foreign Economics and the Uncertain Future of Presidential Power

Chapter 9: Congress and Interbranch Politics
The Context of Congressional Foreign Policymaking

Historical Patterns of INterbranch Relations of Foreign Policy

Congress After the Cold War

Congressional Behavior in Four Policy Areas

Congress and the Politics of Foreign Policy

Chapter 10: Explaining the Politics and Processes of Foreign Policymaking
Context: The Policy-Making Process

Explaining Policy-Making

Patterns of Foreign Policy-Making

The Complex Reality of Policymaking

Chapter 11: The Public, Public Opinion, and Foreign Policy
The Impact of Public Opinion

Understanding Public Opinion

Major Patterns in Public Opinion

Political Ideology and Foreign Policy Orientations

Political ulture and American National Style

Public Opinion and Foreign Policy-making

Chapter 12: Interest Groups and Foreign Policy
Contemporary Political Participation

Interest Groups and Social Movements: Origins and Development

Influence Strategies in Group Politics

The Evolution of Group Politics in U.S. Foreign Policy

Interest Group Politics after Vietnam

Interest Group Politics in the Future

Chapter 13: The Media and Foreign Policy
Conventional wisdom and Complex Reality

Understanding Sources and Coverage of the News

News and Foreign Policy since World War II

The Media and Foreign Policy Politics

Conclusions on the Media and Foreign Policy

Chapter 14: Patterns, Processes, and Foreign Policymaking
Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy since World War II

Politics and Patterns

Leadership in U.S. Foreign Policy-Making

Conclusion: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy-Making



Instructor resources
Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected)

Password-protected instructor resources include the following:
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Instructors manual summarizes key concepts by chapter and provides engaging discussion questions and class activities
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Tables and figures from the book are available for download.

“This is a deep and well-thought out framework for studying U.S. foreign policy. Its focus on institutions and decision-making sets it apart from other texts, and its ability to help students think systematically and empirically is a major plus”

Matthew Zierler
Michigan State University

“The best and most comprehensive overview on American foreign policy available”

Dennis Jett
Penn State University and Former U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru

“The most comprehensive and thorough overview available of the stakeholders, institutions, and dynamics that shape the politics of U.S. foreign policy.”

Renato Corbetta
University of Alabama at Birmingham

“One of the best foreign policy books available.”

Joseph M. Gardner
Gonzaga University

“This is an insightful and analytic introduction to United States foreign policy. And yet, the book is very readable. Students will be challenged to engage with the complexities of the policymaking process. This book will be eye opening for them.”

Juris Pupcenoks
Marist College

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.