From President Truman's use of a domestic propaganda agency to Ronald Reagan's handling of the Soviet Union during his 1984 reelection campaign, the American political system has consistently exerted a profound effect on the country's foreign policies. Americans may cling to the belief that "politics stops at the water's edge," but the reality is that parochial political interests often play a critical role in shaping the nation's interactions with the outside world.
In The Cold War at Home and Abroad: Domestic Politics and US Foreign Policy since 1945, editors Andrew L. Johns and Mitchell B. Lerner bring together eleven essays that reflect the growing methodological diversity that has transformed the field of diplomatic history over the past twenty years. The contributors examine a spectrum of diverse domestic factors ranging from traditional issues like elections and Congressional influence to less frequently studied factors like the role of religion and regionalism, and trace their influence on the history of US foreign relations since 1945. In doing so, they highlight influences and ideas that expand our understanding of the history of American foreign relations, and provide guidance and direction for both contemporary observers and those who shape the United States' role in the world.
This expansive volume contains many lessons for politicians, policy makers, and engaged citizens as they struggle to implement a cohesive international strategy in the face of hyper-partisanship at home and uncertainty abroad.
Andrew L. Johns is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. He is the author of Vietnam's Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War. He is also the editor of A Companion to Ronald Reagan and coeditor of Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations since 1945. He is the president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association in 2018-2019.
Mitchell B. Lerner is associate professor of history at The Ohio State University. He has been a fellow at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and has held the Mary Ball Washington Distinguished Fulbright Chair at University College-Dublin. He is the author of The Pueblo Incident: A Spy Ship and the Failure of American Foreign Policy, which won the 2002 John Lyman Book Award for the best work of US Naval History. He is also the editor of Looking Back at LBJ: White House Politics in a New Light, and A Companion to Lyndon B. Johnson.