Elite opinion leaders greatly vary in their foreign policy beliefs

October 2, 2008

A new study in the journal Politics & Policy shows how there is greater diversity of foreign policy beliefs held by elite opinion leaders than previously thought and identifies nine foreign policy orientations.

Chris J. Dolan, Ph.D., of Lebanon Valley College used a content analysis of national opinion and foreign policy journals between 1992 and 2004 to identify and detail nine foreign policy orientations held by elite opinion leaders.

The nine orientations include Missionaries, Hegemonists, Globalizers, Global Capitalists, Narrow Realists, Progressive Internationalists, Anti-Imperialists, Neighbors, and Disengagers.

The most prevalent orientations in both foreign policy and national opinion journals are hegemonists, globalizers, and progressive internationalists. The most infrequent orientations include missionaries, narrow realists, and disengagers.

Majority beliefs hold that the international scene has become more complex as other actors have challenged U.S. power and that with the collapse of the USSR, the goal of U.S. foreign policy was achieved. Also, it is a widely held belief that global leadership must be exercised through persuasion rather than coercion.

Minority views discriminate between values and interests and reject the notion that peace requires dominance by U.S. power. They also endorse a largely cultural view of foreign policy, history, and policy making, and believe the U.S. should bring its military forces home and withdraw from all international agreements.

Source: Wiley

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