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Foreign policy, bipartisanship and the paradox of post-September 11 America

Trubowitz, Peter and Mellow, Nicole (2011) Foreign policy, bipartisanship and the paradox of post-September 11 America. International Politics, 48 (2-3). pp. 164-187. ISSN 1384-5748

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Identification Number: 10.1057/ip.2011.12


The attacks of September 11 and the resulting war on terrorism present a puzzle to conventional explanations of foreign policy bipartisanship. Public anxiety about the international environment increased sharply after the attacks in 2001, but this did not translate into greater foreign policy consensus despite the initial predictions of many analysts. In this article, we advance a theory of foreign policy bipartisanship that emphasizes its domestic underpinnings to explain the absence of consensus in Washington. We argue that bipartisanship over foreign policy depends as much on domestic economic and electoral conditions as on the international security environment. Using multivariate analysis of roll call voting in the House of Representatives from 1889 to 2008, we show that bipartisanship over foreign policy is most likely not only when the country faces a foreign threat but also when the national economy is strong and when party coalitions are regionally diverse. This was the case during the Cold War. Despite concern about terrorism in recent years, economic volatility and regional polarization have made bipartisan cooperation over foreign policy elusive.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Collections > United States Collection
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 10:38
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 02:26

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