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The Policy Debate
U.S. Capitol Building

When engaging with other countries, the U.S. government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade, and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? 

A new book released by a Princeton-Harvard team focuses on how domestic U.S. politics – in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions and the public – have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others. Presidential power matters, and it varies systematically across policy instruments