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Foreign Policy, Inc.Privatizing America's National Interest$
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Lawrence Davidson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125244

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125244.001.0001

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Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracy

Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracy

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracy
Source:
Foreign Policy, Inc.
Author(s):

Lawrence Davidson

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813125244.003.0003

This chapter suggests that the American political system is a factocracy, a democracy not of individuals but of competing interest groups or factions. Using their collective resources, factions are able to influence politicians and government officials, thus shaping legislation and policy in accordance with their special interests. In the case of foreign policy formulation, the effectiveness of special interests is helped along by the normal indifference the general public shows toward events abroad, in effect making the process privatized. The final part of this chapter provides a brief look at how factocracy emerged in the US and how it has helped shape the country's foreign policy in events dating back to the time of the founding fathers until the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War.

Keywords:   foreign policy, factocracy, factionalism, lobbies, national interest, special interest groups

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