Seminar Series on the US Foreign Policy | All About Politics? How the American Electoral Cycle Shapes Wartime Decision-Making
Available in video:
How does electoral politics affect presidential decision-making in war? As both Commanders-in-Chief and elected officeholders, American presidents must balance the national interest with their often competing interest in political survival when assessing alternative strategies in war. Yet despite the increasing attention paid to domestic political explanations of international relations, surprisingly little has been written on the electoral connection. This talk will explore recent US wartime decision-making to show the profound role electoral pressures play in systematically pushing and pulling the president away from courses of action he perceives to be strategically optimal.
Andrew Payne is the Hedley Bull Research Fellow in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. His primary research interest concerns the influence of electoral politics on US decision-making in war. He is currently working on a book manuscript on this topic, exploring how the electoral cycle shaped presidential decisions concerning military and diplomatic strategy during the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. His broader interests include US foreign policy, international security, civil-military relations, and diplomatic history since 1945.
This seminar series is organised within the program on American politics and international security by Institut d’Estudis Nord-americans (IEN) and IBEI.
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