Beyond the Water's Edge: How Partisanship Corrupts U.S. Foreign Policy (Hardcover)

Beyond the Water's Edge: How Partisanship Corrupts U.S. Foreign Policy By Paul Pillar Cover Image

Beyond the Water's Edge: How Partisanship Corrupts U.S. Foreign Policy (Hardcover)


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Intense partisanship is a familiar part of the contemporary United States, but its consequences do not stop at the country's borders. The damage now extends to U.S. relations with the rest of the world. Too often, political leaders place their own party's interest in gaining and keeping power ahead of the national interest.

Paul R. Pillar examines how and why partisanship has undermined U.S. foreign policy, especially over the past three decades. Placing present-day discord in historical perspective going back to the beginning of the republic, Beyond the Water's Edge shows that although the corrupting effects of partisan divisions are not new, past leaders were often able to overcome them. Recent social and political trends and developments including the end of the Cold War, however, have contributed to a surge of corrosive partisanship. Pillar demonstrates that its costs range from the prolongation of war and crisis to the intrusion of foreign influence and the undermining of democracy. He explores the ways other governments respond to inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy, the consequences of domestic division for U.S. global leadership, and how the corruption of American democracy also weakens democracy worldwide. Pillar considers possible remedies but draws the sobering conclusion that entrenched political sectarianism makes their adoption unlikely. Offering insightful analysis of the decline of U.S. foreign relations, Beyond the Water's Edge is an important book for all readers concerned about the state of the American political system.
Paul R. Pillar is a nonresident senior fellow of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and a nonresident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He served in several senior positions in the U.S. intelligence community and is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. His previous Columbia University Press books are Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (2011) and Why America Misunderstands the World: National Experience and Roots of Misperception (2016).
Product Details ISBN: 9780231213165
ISBN-10: 0231213166
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: November 28th, 2023
Pages: 328
Language: English